AW Teen Summer Reading Challenge

Join the AW Teen Summer Reading Challenge and win books!

Who: Everyone who loves reading YA!
What: Read any AW Teen title (full list here: and review it anywhere (your blog, Goodreads, Instagram, YouTube—wherever!).
When: June 15-August 31, 2016
How: Submit the link to your review here.
You will receive 1 entry for every AW Teen Book you review.
You will receive extra entries for sharing that review on Goodreads, Netgalley, Edelweiss, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other review sites.
You will receive even more extra entries for following us on our Albert Whitman and AW Teen social media sites!
Let's Be Friends!  
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Prize Package: Six AW Teen ’16 titles
Future Shock (hardcover)
9780807526828 FutureShock
Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life—or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporations selects her for a top-secret project, she can’t say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future, and she’ll be set for life. Elena travels with four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy. Soon they find themselves running out of time, and deadly secrets are uncovered. Can Elena and her new friends figure out how to change their futures?
Seventeen-year-old Adam Rhodes is famous, but he’s been in a downward spiral since he lost the girl he loved, Marybeth, who went by the stage name Sunshine. Then, Adam is approached by Dr. Elloran with Project Orpheus, who wants to resurrect Sunshine. As the process sweeps Adam and Marybeth ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he’ll go to save her.
Two boys: One is a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other is a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? This unforgettable novel counts down the twelve months leading up to an explosive moment.
Biggie (paperback)
Biggie in paperback
At an obese 300+ pounds, Henry “Biggie” Abbott prefers classroom success to sports. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts flirting with him. He’s been told to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play baseball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try.
Girl Last Seen (hardcover)
YouTube stars and best friends Kadence and Lauren recently had a major falling-out over Kadence’s boyfriend. Kadence launched her solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal cords. And she knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. But nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with Kady’s disappearance.
Hurricane Kiss (hardcover)
For sixteen-year-old Jillian McKay, the threat of Hurricane Danielle means a long car ride with her neighbors—including River Daughtry, the former star quarterback of Harrison High. The guy who was headed to glory until suddenly he disappeared to a West Texas juvenile detention center. Once cocky and flirtatious, he’s now silent and angry. But their evacuation route is soon gridlocked. As the teens wait out the storm, they confront the past and realize survival is more than just staying alive—it’s about fighting for yourself.
Join the fun and get your read on this summer!

Welcome to Sortilege Falls (Grape Merriweather #1) by Libby Heily

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn't right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape's life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals”, no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape's life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy's friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models' parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.

Release Date: May 2016
Age Group: YA
Source: Review Copy from Author
Reviewed By: Nat

I finally found a YA series that had all #thefeels of a Goosebump mixed with the sleuthing heart of Nancy Drew!

Do not let the cover fool you. I will admit that that is the only thing that kind of turned me off. But man, you really can't judge a book by it's cover or you will really miss out on a good little story. I enjoyed such a face-paced read and really loved Grape. I mean how can you not love someone named after a fruit drink. For such a quick read I was guessing the outcome about every 5th page and then I would change my mind or find out I was totally off. I LOVED that I couldn't guess the plot. I am not going to divulge too many details because even the slightest comment could be a spoiler. But I will say that I thought of Nancy Drew with a little paranormal flare and one specific Goosebump tale.

Bravo to Libby for creating a new fun world that I am now pining for! I can't wait for Grape to come back. When Libby, when?

PS This is a CLEAN read, which I found refreshing. I didn't have to jump over any bombs or close my eyes.



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Book to Movie Review: The BFG

To simply put it, this movie exceeded all expectations! Hands down one of the best adaptations of all time.  I don't have a single complaint. I was worried I had beef'ed it up too much to my kids and feared they wouldn't get #thefeels that come when you read BFG but DANG did Spielberg bring his A-game. There are several scenes that are spitting images of the illustrations found in the BFG book but have been brought to life with incredible visual effects. 

It's a wonderful tribute to Roald Dahl's work and one of the most family friendly films of the year. 


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illustration by Quintin Blake
#theBFG #BFG #roalddahl #disney #spielberg £soratherread

What Book Made You Fall in Love with Reading?

Goodreads posed the question:

What book made you fall in love with reading?

For me it was was in different stages. 
    In elementary it was Amelia Bedelia. >Visit Here<
    In middle school it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. It was the first time I realized that movies changed endings. I was both proud and devastated.  >Visit Here<
    #thestrugglewasreal in junior high. Sports were introduced and I figured out I could run {like Forest}.
    In high school it was the short story Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin. It is still one of my all time favorite short stories. >Read Here<
    In college I only read what I had too. Those were very dark times... 
Listopia on GoodReads has a great list of
The Must-Have Series for Children Ages 6 to 12.

I polled all the little middle-grade readers running through my house this summer and these are the top 5 they recommend. Check out Listopia's list >HERE< for a huge variety of middle-grade series. The list is for the must-have series in a library that children ages 6 - 12 can read for themselves.
  1. Diary of a Whimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  2. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  3. Jason Strange books
  4. I Survived by Lauren Tarshis
  5. Warriors by Erin Hunter

Penguin Problems by Jory John

Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it’s a land free of worries and responsibilities! All of your problems will surely be blown away by the icy winds of that lawless paradise! . . . Won’t they?

Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no more a picnic than yours is here. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol’ crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you.

Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we’ve just learned that grumps are everywhere. . . .

Release Date: September 2016
Age Group: Children
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

"Everybody's got problems, good luck with yours." 
Bernie Packard 
This is a common quote that is repeated in our small town. It just cracks me up every time I hear it because it always reminds me of all the Negative Nancy's I meet. You know the person that always has to bring up the negative side of ANY situation. Every family has one. Currently in our house, it is #Hurricane, our middle child. 

He is our Penguin.

I sat both my boys down to read #penguinproblems to them and use my best disgruntled voice possible, I was really determined to get the point of this book across. My 5 year old ate it up and made little comments about how unhappy the Penguin was while #Hurricane laid there silent, on his face. #palmtoface

Midway through he turned over and hid his grin after I said we were reading a book about him. I told him we were changing his nickname to penguin, he frowned but kept listening.

After the book was over our conversation went like this:

Me: So, what was up with that Penguin? Did he learn anything?

5 year old: yea, I think.

Hurricane: He learned to be grateful for the things he has.
*Me thinking "Ah, so he did get the plot"

Me: So what are you grateful for?

5 year old: Hockey, yea hockey is on ice. I loooove it so much. 
*He has never seen a hockey puck in his life.

Me: okay, cool. Hurricane what about you?

Hurricane: Nothing. 

Me: What?! Nothing? Really?

Hurricane: Nope, nothing.

Me: Huh.

Hurricane: Fine, I am grateful for our house and all the other stuff I'm supposed to say. I learned to not argue and be happy mom, I just didn't want to say it right now.

Me: *internally screams and shoots daggers toward child. That's nice.

Penguin Problems is a great children's book for teaching young readers to see the good in their life instead of all the negative, because lets face it, life is SO unfair when you are 8 or younger. The text has the droll yet funny personality of a complainer with illustrations to match.  It is really easy to manipulate for reading aloud and just the right length to keep small children's attention.

I highly recommend this book for elementary teachers. There are so many areas that this book could cover: feelings, being different but yet the same, manners, animals in the arctic, predators, even technology. There is a hashtag that is attached to this book: #penguinproblems. It would be really fun to create an activity off of that, I mean I know I would eat it up but I'm odd. Any avenue to introduce technology to kids is a win in my book. #punintended

This is also a great book to gift. I will be purchasing several copies of this book when the holiday season hits! 

A special thank you to Random House for sending me this advanced reader wrapped in the cutest book bag ever! We have been sporting it to the library for the summer reading program. I have convinced my kids that when they walk in with the bag, people probably whisper how jealous they are of our penguin. Then I tell them, remember, everybody's got problems... but a sweet book bag isn't one of ours!

The Dino Files: A Mysterious Egg (#1) by Stacy McAnulty

Summary: Frank’s grandma is a famous paleontologist (that’s a dinosaur scientist). But she’s also an adult who makes up rules. Rules like: no digging for dinosaur bones when you have a sunburn. That means Frank is stuck playing inside with his annoying cousin, Samantha. But then Grandma finds a fossil of an egg! And when Frank and Sam sneak into the dino lab late at night, they find something even more amazing. . . .

The hilarious Dino Files chapter book series follows a nine-year-old dinosaur expert, his paleontologist grandparents, a cat named Saurus, and fossils that might not be so extinct!

Release Date: January 2016
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By: Macy Kate

1. Who are the main characters? Did you have a favorite and why?
The main characters are Frank, Sam, Peanut and Saurus. My favorite character was Saurus because he was lazy and fat and looked cuddly. I love cuddly! 

2. What is the story setting?
The story is set at a dinosaur dig site, a museum and also at Aaron's barn. 

3. What was one main event?
One main event was when peanut went missing! I was so sad and scared that he had been kidnapped (no spoilers though).

4. What didn't you like?
I enjoyed every bit of this book! Really.

5. Was the book easy to follow (understand)?
The book was very, very easy to follow.

6.  What is your overall opinion of the series? Will you continue?
This series is awesome and I really want read the next book, Too Big to Hide.

Note from Nat:
Overall, this is a great middle grade series for: 
  • Hesitant readers. The writing style is really easy to follow and comprehend.
  • Both girls & boys.
  • Animal lovers.
  • Future scientists.
  • Little sleuth's.
This is a series that is fresh and just beginning to roll out and will give young readers something to look forward too and begin to develop those feelings of anticipation (and sometimes distress :). It is best to start them young and really develop these intense book habits-- really it's good for our society.
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2016 Summer Book to Movie Adaptations

Summer is here and the heat is on here in Texas. Usually by 10am we have hit at least 84 degrees. My favorite retreat is the theater because when I step outside at noon I have flashes of the Wicked Witch screaming "I'm Melting, I'm Melting!" And then it leads me to thoughts of wanting to watch Wicked... the heat really affects my thought process. 

Here are my top 5 anticipated book to movie adaptations this summer. 

Me Before You: Now Playing
Just bring tissues and chocolate.

Pete's Dragon: August 12th.
Not an adaptation but it is just pure nostalgia for me. My kids are not as nearly excited as I am because they haven't seen the original Disney film. #Iwillrectifythewrong

The Legend of Tarzan: July 1st
Tarzan is one of those characters that has been adapted in some form for the last 100 years. My grandma talks about the first Tarzan film and I loved the Disney cartoon.  He is just so barbaric!

BFG: July 1st
Who in there right mind isn't freaking excited about BFG!? Anything Rohald Dahl inspired has my attention. Middle grade readers should be really interested in this adaptation (and all mom's who have read all the Dahl books > #thisgirlrighthere <).

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: September 30th
Shout out to my hair lady woman goddess stylist Morgan! She has been talking this series up for the last year. Naturally, I should have read these already but what can I say, I'm a rebel. This series is next up! It has such a weird vibe to it, I can hardly wait!

Bookmark Round-Up

Summer is here and I plan to read it away! Who doesn't like a good bookmark? Here is my round-up of fun bookmark ideas. Some ideas are as simple as just printing and others require a little Youtube tutorial.


If you have fun summer activities or traditions that are book inspired, please SHARE! 

#soratherrread #summerreading #readersgonnaread

Book Review: Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1) by Anne Aguire

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

Release Date: August 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Ms. Leger

So, right off I noticed the theme of bullying. A smart, brainy, unattractive high school girl attending a preppy private school who gets viciously teased by the rich "teflon" group. I was immediately vested in the book because I could relate to the feelings and motions she went through, I've seen it time and time again with students and it had a creepy feel to it.

What I really liked was the twist. Edie gets 3 wishes to get even. I tell my own kids and students to be careful what you wish for because it may not turn out the way you wanted. I really enjoyed Edie's thought process and often caught myself having the same doubting thoughts she did. 

There was anger, revenge, deceit and doubt all wrapped into a single bargain and what a ride it was! I never lost interest and would consider this book a really good paranormal YA. I look forward to 2nd in the series.

Ms. Leger

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Book Review: Fearless Frosty by Chloe Chick (Sisu Girls)

Fearless Frosty tells the tale of New Zealander Anna Frost and how she chased her dream to become a professional mountain runner.

"Whatever it is, go after it.
Find the thing that makes you fly!

Because one thing is for certain:

You'll never know unless you try."

Fearless Frosty is the first book in our collection of stories about fearless females.

Release Date: June 2015
Age Group: Children, Middle Grade, Girls
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Nat

I actually came across this book on my 10 year old daughters instagram. Yes, you read that right, my 10 year old. She has had one since she was 8 and it is trolled by her helicopter parents. She is a skateboarder and long story short, we felt that social media would actually help to inspire and motivate her. Her feed is filled with female athletes and friends that she has made through her sport. One of the groups that she follows are the Sisu Girls.

SisuGirls is a global movement encouraging girls to step into themselves through sport and adventure. Sisu is a Finnish term for determination, bravery and resilience. We want all girls to have the self-belief and conviction to try new things, the tenacity to endure, and the bravery to push boundaries. We want girls to discover the outdoors, adventure and sports. Not always to compete, but to be involved, be active and most importantly to learn about themselves and others. We want girls to develop strong foundations of confidence, so they have the self-belief to follow their dreams, with sisu.

When I saw that Sisu was going to start a series of books based on actual women in action-adventure sports, I knew I would be exercising my paypal skills. I was really impressed with the actual book itself, it is such a nice hardback and the author Chloe even signed it.

I read it first and really liked the illustrations and knew my boys would probably like it and they did. My daughter read it next and had a lot of questions about mountain running. Which made me have questions too, so we did what we do best... we googled it. But the really cool result of this book was listening to her talk about what she was going to accomplish in skateboarding! And then we just sat and talked about how cool it would be if she had a book about her one day. :)

We.Sat.And.Talked.  <--- #winning

Anything that gets a tween or teen to open up and reflect is a real winner. Overall, it was just really neat to sit and listen to her talk about her dreams, her plans and to know that each one is possible.

If anything this book is a motivator for young girls and is also a fun read for all kids in general! So support the Sisu Girls and buy this book! Go HERE 

Read more about the Sisu Girls HERE.
Follow on instagram HERE.

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