Tag Archives: Teen Lit

The Naughty List – Suzanne Young
Book Reviews
February 16, 2010 posted by Nikki

The Naughty List – Suzanne Young

As if being a purrfect cheerleader isn’t enough responsibility! Tessa Crimson’s the sweet and spunky leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), a cheer squad–turned–spy society dedicated to bringing dastardly boyfriends to justice, one cheater at a time. Boyfriend-busting wouldn’t be so bad . . . except that so far, every suspect on the Naughty List has been proven 100% guilty!

When Tessa’s own boyfriend shows up on the List, she turns her sleuthing skills on him. Is Aiden just as naughty as all the rest, or will Tessa’s sneaky ways end in catastrophe?

The Naughty List. Is your boyfriend on it?

Meet the Smitten Kittens. Sounds kind of sexy, huh? Alluring in that mysterious way. If you knew what they were doing, though, sexy wouldn’t even come into it. In fact, the Smitten Kittens are all about busting cheating boyfriends from doing the sexy with people other than their other half. The male adolescent population of Washington High is more than a little naughty, it seems.

The squad – which double as a cheer squad by day – have high tech spy equipment and have a well organized system of spying on the boys at their school. They take requests from girlfriends who suspect their boyfriends are cheating, and investigate till the allegations are either cleared, or confirmed. Unfortunately, they’ve never had the opportunity to clear anyone’s name because every single suspect has been found guilty. Every single one.

Tessa is the only girl left on the squad who actually has a boyfriend. Over time, the others all dumped theirs because they were caught cheating. Then, Tessa’s boyfriend’s name shows up on the list, and with a one hundred percent confirmed cheating rate so far, it isn’t looking good for Tessa and Aiden. But maybe he’s innocent, he seems like a nice guy, after all. Could he be the first boyfriend to ever be cleared of all charges?

Initially, I couldn’t decide exactly how I felt about this book, or for whom exactly the target audience might be. Tessa comes across as a good, wholesome character. She doesn’t curse, and always corrects those around her that do. She uses expressions like strawberry smoothie, for example, instead of actual curse words. She’s an excellent friend to her fellow squad members, a great student, and an all-round shiny, happy girl. At first I thought this was going to be a clean and wholesome novel for younger readers, but then I discovered that Tessa sleeps with her boyfriend and sneaks around in the middle of the night, lying to her parents and Aiden about what she’s doing, and spies on people till dawn. And Tessa is the only one that doesn’t curse; it seems the book is littered with swear words and over active adolescent hormonal activity. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, either, I’m just saying that Tessa’s character confused me.

I found myself trying to decode the messages that came attached to Tessa’s character. By creating a character like Tessa, is Suzanne Young is attempting to send a message that teen sex is okay? After all, Tessa is a really nice girl that is seemingly good in every other way. Does the fact that she’s sexually active make her a bad role model for teen girls? I really couldn’t decide. I’m inclined to say no, but I felt uncomfortable making that judgement alone. What I did like about Tessa is that, especially at the beginning, she is committed to Aiden and although she is well aware of her sexual allure and uses that on Aiden a lot, she doesn’t really flounce it around in front of everyone else. She isn’t promiscuous and she obviously has a lot of self-respect, which I think is important when setting up a potential role model for teens today.

The whole book left me feeling a little uneasy, which I suppose is actually a good thing because I thought about it for hours after I finished it, trying to figure out whether I liked it, how to categorize it, what the underlying messages were. While there was obviously a formula that went into the plot, it seemed there was a lack of formula that went into creating the characters, setting, tone, etc. I found this quite refreshing and I think others will too.

I think this book would be a great jumping point for book clubs and discussion circles that wanted to talk and debate the issue of teen sex and teen relationships.

Pages: 239

Publication Date: Febraury 2010

Rating:: ★★★☆☆

Teaser Quote: Cassandra was less than thrilled to see the glossy eight by tens of Marcus and Red Heels. It nearly broke my heart, especially when I considered her recently departed virginity. All of it left me feeling, well, bummed.

The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting
Book Reviews
February 10, 2010 posted by Nikki

The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting

A serial killer on the loose.
A girl with a morbid ability.
And a boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind… and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren’t enough to deal with during her junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet’s small town… and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Fill with suspense, a gripping romance, and deadly consequences, The Body Finder is an impressive debut novel that’s impossible to put down.

Violet has known that she was different since she was eight years old. That was when she discovered her first murdered body, although at the time, she had no idea that it was the start of a supernatural ability for finding the dead. It’s the kind of thing that can’t be explained by normal or natural circumstances and Violet knows that she needs to keep this to herself. Her family knows, and so does Jay – her best friend – but she’s managed to keep it from everyone else.

She’s in her junior year now and there is a lot going on. Over the past few months, Jay seemed to transform from regular old Jay into an irresistible chick magnet, and it’s driving Violet bananas. She knows she shouldn’t care so much; he’s just her best friend after all. But the more attention Jay receives from her classmates, the more Violet realizes that she doesn’t think of him that way anymore. It seems that Violet has jumped on the Jay-loving bandwagon, too, and she wants him all for herself. But Violet knows her feelings are irrational and sets about pushing them aside. He’s been her friend for far too long…

Then, as if Fate was mocking her in the cruellest way possible, Violet gets the distraction she’s looking for. Teenage girls (girls that she knows) start going missing. When Violet stumbles across the first body, she knows it was murder. The echo left behind is a direct indication that it was so. Then another turns up, and another. When the police have little luck uncovering even a hint of a clue that points to the killer, Violet realizes she might be the only one capable of actually finding him. It’s dangerous, sure, but she can’t just sit by and do nothing.

Would you?

But Violet is just a girl and her serial killer is a skilled hunter. In the game of cat and mouse, who normally wins…?

Jay is a lovable character and it’s easy to understand why the girls are falling all over him. He’s very protective of Violet, he’s handsome – he’s the ultimate package really. Although I couldn’t pin point one particular characteristic that may cause a bit of a fangirl frenzy among readers, I think his loyalty and how much he cares about Violet is going to win him many points with the ladies. While he may not top the Fave Male Characters Of All Time list, he’s not exactly forgettable, either.

Violet seems like a regular teen with regular teen problems. There are so many strong female characters around in YA Lit at the moment that are so supernaturally charged they can’t possibly resemble regular teens. Although she does possess a supernatural ability, Violet strikes me as pretty normal. She experiences regular teen emotions and she’s dealing with regular teen problems on top of the whole murder mystery thing. Overall, The Body Finder feels much more like a teen mystery than a supernatural story.

I was a little creeped out by the pages that were written in the point-of-view of the murderer. Being inside someone’s head that is obviously as messed up as he is gives me the heebee jeebees. It goes to show that you just can’t trust anyone these days…

This one has romance, murder, suspense, mystery, and a whole lot more. All in all, The Body Finder has a little something for everyone and is bound to be a hit with readers or any age.

Pages: 327

Publication date: 2010

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: “But he was bigger and stronger and his hands reached up behind her to the back of her head, ignoring her denials and pinning her in place. When his mouth finally landed on hers, the combination of his alcohol soaked breath and his brutish unrestrained actions made her quiver sickly beneath him …… she felt like she was going to puke.”

Special Announcement:

yaReads is participating in Kimberly Derting’s promotional blog tour for The Body Finder. Tune back in on Feburary 11 – that’s two days from now, folks – for more Kimberly Derting goodness!

News
January 26, 2010 posted by Nikki

Most Anticipated YA Titles of 2010

Last week, www.examiner.com published a list of the most anticipated YA titles for 2010. In order of release date, the lucky titles are:

Chasing Brooklyn – Lisa Schroeder

Sweet Little Lies (L.A Candy) – Lauren Conrad

Gone – Lisa McMann

The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting

Hourglass (Evernight #3) – Claudia Gray

Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel – James Patterson

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls – L.J Smith

Burned: A House of Night Novel – PC and Kristen Cast

Runaway (Airhead) – Meg Cabot

Kiss of Death: A Morganville Vampires Novel – Rachel Caine

Early to Death, Early to Rise – Kim Harrison

Passing Strange – Daniel Waters

Keys to the Repository: A Blue Bloods Novel – Melissa De La Cruz

Strange Fate (Night World) – L.J Smith

Linger – Maggie Stiefvater

The Hunger Games #3 (Untitled) – Suzanne Collins

A Clockwork Angel: An Infernal Devices Novel – Cassandra Clare

Behomoth – Scott Westerfeld

Crescendo – Becca Fitzpatrick

Beautiful Creatures #2 (Untitled) – Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

To learn more about these titles, and for their official release dates, click here

So what are your thoughts? Do we agree? Is there anything that was left of the list?

Calling all Lesbian Readers and Writers
Site Updates
March 2, 2009 posted by Nikki

Calling all Lesbian Readers and Writers

Do you know of any awesome, hard-hitting novels written for a young adult lesbian readership? Are you the author of a young adult novel written about lesbian and teen lesbian issues? If so, then we want to hear from you. yaReads is prepping for a teen gay and lesbian feature and we want to make sure we’ve got all out bases covered before we give it the green light. Drop us an email at yareaders(at)gmail(dot)com and tell us a little about yourself, or that fabulous book you just read.