Archive | June, 2012

Between the Lines

27 Jun

I liked thinking that whatever Delilah and I had between us was so strong that there was no boundary between the true and the imagined, the book and the Reader. I liked the idea that although I started my life as a figment of someone’s imagination, that didn’t make me any less real. (Prince Oliver, p. 165)

Delilah is a bit of a loner. She spends more time reading a children’s fairy tale book than she does interacting with other teenagers. Prince Oliver is a character stuck in a book – the very same fairy tale book that Delilah is enamored with. He’s tired of running through the same scenes over and over again, not being able to make his own choices and being confined to the world created by the author. When Oliver manages to make contact with Delilah, the two of them become determined to find a way to free him from the pages.

Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer wrote Between the Lines together side-by-side. While Picoult is likely the big draw here for most readers (there is a reason her name is in the largest font on the book spine and cover), the main draw for me was the involvement of her teenaged co-author and the fun story concept. Of course, for a debut teen author I’m sure it doesn’t hurt having a seasoned and well-respected author as your co-writer!

The story is told through alternating chapters from the perspectives of Delilah and Oliver, and scenes from the fairy tale story, also called Between the Lines. I love the concept of a special book whose characters are simply acting out the scenes written for them and who do their own thing when the book is closed. I love the idea that one of these characters might want to leave that world for another and that an invested reader might be a potential ally and love interest. Our main characters, Oliver and Delilah, are pretty immediately likable which makes joining them on their journey a breeze. And the world of the fairy tale book (the one that exists when the book is closed) is a curious place that was fun to dive into.

While I became invested in Oliver and Delilah and the challenge at hand quite easily, it took me a while to get a handle on the story’s tone and some of the characterizations. There is a goofiness at times in the storytelling that surprised me in ways that made it difficult for me to settle in. For example, modern day elements show up in the fairy tale story (fire extinguisher, megaphone, braces, etc) and there are unusual mini-conflicts that arise such as a horse who won’t leave his stable because he has a zit (although we all know that to the horse with the zit, this conflict doesn’t feel so small). The story has a playfulness reminiscent of The Princess Bride or Pixar movies and recognizing this helped me join the fun and stop worrying if the unusual fairy tale world made sense.

One thing that stands out about this book is the design.  There are full page color illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert that appear every few chapters which are presumably illustrations from the fairy tale book that Delilah is so fond of. These illustrations are lovely and introduce us to the world of the fairy tale and to our handsome prince. Picoult has described Gilbert’s work in Between the Lines as reminiscent of the work of Arthur Rackham, which is an immense compliment and I must say well-deserved. The book also incorporates black-and-white silhouettes throughout the text created by Scott M. Fischer. While eye-catching and frequently charming, the silhouettes didn’t add to the story for me (with some notable exceptions). Unfortunately, the images were incorporated into the page design in ways that often made them feel like “clutter” (as far as clutter goes this was of the more welcome variety). This element of the book design may be more of a draw for younger readers, but for me it felt a bit much at times. Similarly, I did not need the change in font and font color that accompanied the changes in perspective. I appreciate that the book designers were trying to make something special here – a treasure of a book – but I wish they had taken a more subtle approach.

Picoult is a popular adult author and it is likely because of this that I’ve come across suggestions for librarians and booksellers to shelve this title in both adult and YA sections. I’m not sure that I’m convinced though. While I think some adult readers, like myself, will enjoy this cute story, it definitely reads more in the middle grade to YA spectrum. I would suggest this book without reservation to tween readers who are beginning to explore the YA section and to teen readers (and select adults) who are looking for a fun, sweet, and playful fantasy novel.

Em’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Author: Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Publisher: Emily Bestler Books/Atria/Simon Pulse (June 26, 2012)
Note: Review copy sent from publicist for honest review

Side note: Prince Oliver was named after one of their family pets. Seriously, how cute is that?!

My Audiobook Year!

25 Jun

This week is Audiobook Week at Devourer of Books! If you’re excited about audiobooks, be sure to stop on over there this week for discussions on all sorts of audiobook-y topics from qualities of a stand-out narrator to where to find great audiobook suggestions! Today’s discussion topic is centered on our Audiobook Year:

    Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen?

So without further ado…

I’ve been an avid audiobook listener for the past five years. As a kid, I couldn’t stand them. I’d listen to portions of them from time to time while getting a lift somewhere from my mom (thanks for the lift by the way!) and often found the stories boring or the narrator’s voice grating. But then I grew up and found myself with 2 hours a day of commuting time and some award-winning audiobooks (Jim Dale, Harry Potter series) to keep my company.

How I listen to audiobooks has changed significantly over the past few years. Originally I only listened to books on CD while in my car commuting to work. Now that I no longer have a commute (unless you count my five minute walk to the library), I’m more likely to listen while gardening, cooking, or doing some mindless household chore. Because gardening is a major audio listening activity for me, the late-spring/summer/early-fall are my most active audio listening times of year. I now listen almost exclusively to downloaded audio, primarily purchased through Audible. I’m fairly obsessed with the Audible app and its speed settings (helps pick up the pace when you have a slow reader). With the loss of 2 hours of commuting time each day (not the biggest “loss” in the world!), I’m definitely not listening to audiobooks quite as much as I once did. But I’m still a huge audiobook fan and here are some of my top listens from the past year!

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
Read by Khristine Hvam
St. Martin’s Griffin and Brilliance Audio

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Read by Emma Galvin
Razorbill and Penguin Audio

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Read by Dion Graham
Aladdin and Brilliance Audio

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Read by Natalie Moore
Houghton Mifflin Company and Random House Audio

The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Read by Nick Podehl (both) and Angela Dawe (TAatA)
Candlewick Press and Brilliance Audio

Room by Emma Donoghue
Read by Michal Friedman
, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and Suzanne Toren
Little, Brown and Company and Hachette Audio

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Read by Debra Monk
Reagan Arthur Books and Recorded Books

Have you listened to any of these titles? Or heard other audio that you would suggest read by these narrators? What are some of your favorite listens from the past year?

Team Sisters!

23 Jun

Ah sisters. I have one. She’s great.* Sisters is the theme with the current contemporary+classic pair of free summer downloads from SYNC. Between now and June 27, the following two titles are available for download (while the window of opportunity for downloading is finite, once downloaded you can listen at your leisure):

Irises By Francisco X. Stork, Read by Carrington MacDuffie, Published by Listening Library

    TWO SISTERS: Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. – if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.

    THREE YOUNG MEN: Then three men sway their lives: Kate’s boyfriend Simon offers to marry her, providing much-needed stability. Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past. And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own.

    ONE AGONIZING CHOICE: Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darknesses in their sudden freedom. But it’s Mama’s life that might divide them for good – the question of *if* she lives, and what’s worth living for.

Sense and Sensibility By Jane Austen, Read by Wanda McCaddon, Published by Tantor Media

    When Mrs Dashwood is forced by an avaricious daughter-in-law to leave the family home in Sussex, she takes her three daughters to live in a modest cottage in Devon. For Elinor, the eldest daughter, the move means a painful separation from the man she loves, but her sister Marianne finds in Devon the romance and excitement which she longs for. The contrasting fortunes and temperaments of the two girls as they struggle to cope in their different ways with the cruel events which fate has in store for them are portrayed by Jane Austen with her usual irony, humour and profound sensibility.

To see the full schedule of downloadable titles, visit or text syncya to 25827 (texting will sign you up for alerts when new audio downloads become available).

*All these audiobook covers with sisters hugging makes me want to give my sister a big squeeze. Watch out Sarah! I’m coming for you!

A feminist fairy tale with heart

21 Jun

“And she was adored, as much for her defiant spirit as for her beauty.”

This is the Snow White story I have been waiting for! Though it barely passes the Bechdel Test this is my favorite feminist film of the year, so far.

If the classic Disney fairy tale is your only point of reference for this dark and daring story you might be more comfortable with Disney’s current reimagining, Mirror Mirror.  Snow White and The Huntsman is equal parts dark and light, a more accurate reflection of the Grimm’s fairytale than any reimagining since the original story.  Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is more comparable to Katniss Everdeen than her original namesake and helps to usher forth what I hope will be the new wave of female adolescent protagonists: passionate, brave and leading with their hearts.

Heart is the core of this story: the ways it makes or breaks us and for Snow White, it is her heart that makes her so valuable, both literally and figuratively. The Evil Queen, Ravenna, masterfully played by Charlize Theron, seeks to devour Snow White’s heart in her manic obsession to be the fairest in the land, to remain eternally youthful and beautiful. A provocative script and a seriously riveting performance by Theron elevate Ravenna’s character from the familiar archetype of a villain by giving her: 1) An identity – do you remember the Evil Queen having a name in any other re-telling? 2) A heart, albeit a bruised and bitter one. Taught from a young age that beauty is power and having spent a lifetime subsequently “ruined by men”, Ravenna’s humanity makes her the most relatable character in the film. She is more a victim of female gender role backlash than sincerely demonic. Sound familiar?

Ravenna’s darkness is juxtaposed by Snow White’s fairness, not just physically but emotionally. Throughout the film Ravenna is the embodiment of natural beauty tainted by the carelessness of the world and, in typical mean girl style, she resents those who find their beauty reflected in the world, such as the fair Snow White. One of the most beautiful elements of the film is Snow White’s relationship to nature, an aspect that was trivialized in the original Disney version where Snow frolicked in the forest, yearning through song about waiting for her Prince to find her. This Snow White is not waiting to be found, she is not hoping to be rescued. She is seeking justice and activating her destiny with no thought for romance.

The casting of this film should not go unnoticed among teen and adult audiences. Theron has made her career out of characters that explore the complicated, often ugly side of the female experience. She has long been a favorite of mine but it was last year’s Young Adult, a slice of life story where she tackled the painful consequences of a female life built on beauty and image, that marked her a permanent heroine of mine – brilliant and brave.

There are mixed opinions about Kristen Stewart, I hear a lot of people rag her, but she continues to take roles that usurp the traditional trajectory of a young Hollywood actress. She has yet to star in a romantic comedy nor has she been pigeonholed into the stereotypical teen girl image force fed to us by studios predominantly run by men. Often criticized for her awkwardness and emotional blandness, Stewart’s real life resistance to the Hollywood teen idol image serves her character well. As Snow White, who has spent the bulk of her developmental years in solitary confinement after witnessing Ravenna murder her father, Stewart’s interpretation of the character is imbued with an innate understanding of her power and position. She just has to learn how to access it. When she does finally find her voice it is strong enough to rouse a rebellion.

Let me be the first to say that the description of this film offered by IMDB, Google and this month’s Elle magazine, which features Stewart on the cover, are inaccurate. Each, in one way or another, summarize the story in a way that suggests the Huntsman protects and mentors Snow White. Um, yeah. That’s not how it happens at all. In fact, there is only one scene where the Huntsman offers guidance on how Snow can protect herself. (SCENE SPOILERS remainder of paragraph ) He instructs Snow White to drive a blade right into her attackers heart and “Don’t remove it until you see their soul.” Responding that she could never do that The Huntsman replies, “You may not have a choice.” Ooooh, feminist foreshadowing.  Because, guess what, HuntsMAN? I do have a choice. In the scene immediately following the two are attacked by a larger than life troll who knocks the Huntsman unconscious and turns to unleash a powerful roar in Snow White’s face. Snow White responds by roaring right back and they face each other – pausing, staring, and seeing each other’s souls. Is that not what we all long for? To be heard? To be seen? To be allowed to be ourselves without fear of hurt, loss, and abandonment?

In truth, it is Snow, with the support of the seven dwarfs (a fun surprise of familiar faces shrunken down in size) who mentors him. Following another archetypical path of the widowed male drowning his sorrow in alcohol and violence, it is Snow White’s fairness – not beauty but commitment to justice – that rejuvenate the Huntsman’s desire for life. By being unapologetically vulnerable and insecure, “How do I inspire? How do I lead men?” but brave enough to admit it, Snow White demonstrates the true meaning of strength, of power, of heart.

Above all, the most prevalent message in this film, and one of utmost value for female audiences, is the example of leadership modeled by a girl that is simply being herself. We should all be so brave.

SYNC is back! Free summer audio downloads!

18 Jun

SYNC is back! Lovers of YA and classic literature will have the opportunity to download free audio recordings each week this summer from June 14 – August 22, 2012. Each week SYNC offers a new audiobook pairing – a popular YA title and a classic that connects with the YA title’s theme.

To see the full schedule of downloadable titles, visit or text syncya to 25827 (texting will sign you up for alerts when new audio downloads become available). If you’re like me and you use the free Overdrive Media Console to download audio through your library system, you’re already one step ahead in getting ready to download your free audio!

Between now and June 20, the following two titles are available for download (while the window of opportunity for downloading is finite, once downloaded you can listen at your convenience):

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, Read by Dan Bittner (Scholastic Audiobooks)

    In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

 In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing–and their lives–forever.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Frank Galati [Adapt.], Read by Shirley Knight, Jeffrey Donovan, and a Full Cast (L.A. Theatre Works) (NOTE: this is a radio play, rather than an unabridged recording of the original)

    Drought and economic depression are driving thousands from Oklahoma. As their land becomes just another strip in the dust bowl, the Joads, a family of sharecroppers, decide they have no choice but to follow. They head west, towards California, where they hope to find work and a future for their family.

Be sure to check out the full schedule of downloadable audiobooks available through SYNC this summer!

Audiobook Month Giveaway!

17 Jun

Did you know June is Audiobook Month? Did you know audiobooks were what brought me back to the realm of the reading? College basically killed my love of reading and after graduating it was hard to get back to reading sans highlighter. But around 6 years ago, I suddenly had an hour commute on my hands and decided to dive into the Harry Potter series by listening to the audio recordings read by Jim Dale.* I’ve been an avid audiobook listener (and regular ol’ book reader) ever since. Now that I no longer have a commute, most of my listening is done in the garden, while I’m pulling weeds or harvesting vegetables. My garden looks its best when I have a good audiobook that I’m listening to. (thanks so far this season to Courtney Summers and Rebecca Serle!)

Since it’s Audiobook Month and I love books and readers (audiobooks and listeners too), I thought it’d be nice to offer a little giveaway! EDIT: The winner has been selected and will be contacted by email! The winner will select an audiobook of their choice from the Audible site. Thanks for sharing your favorite audiobooks! Need help choosing your next audiobook? Here are a few of my favorites!

*Nora and I first met on Valentine’s Day. Romantic, I know. She and her husband invited me and my hubby over for dinner (Nora and the hubs went to college together). After dinner while shelf-gazing, I noticed her Harry Potter collection. I mentioned how I credit the HP audiobooks with reviving my love of reading, to which her husband said, “oh, I actually worked on those” and then preceded to answer all my questions about what it’s like to be in the studio with Jim Dale! Not a bad “first date”.

When You Were Mine

12 Jun

In this contemporary twist on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, we watch the classic story unfold from the perspective of Romeo’s original love interest, Rosaline. Rose (Rosaline) and Rob (Romeo) have been friends forever. But since the end of the school year, it has seemed like they might be more than just friends. Now back from summer vacation the two seem to be on their way to becoming a couple. Then Juliet comes to town. Rose used to be close with her cousin Juliet until their parents had a falling out and Juliet’s family left town. When Juliet catches the attention, and heart, of Rob, Rose is forced to watch from the sidelines as these two people, who she was once close with, fall in love and fall apart.

One major difference between Romeo and Juliet and When You Were Mine is that in Romeo and Juliet, Rosaline is either uninterested or unavailable whereas in When You Were Mine, Rose is more or less ready to dive in, and Rob seems to be on the same page and know that they’re in it together. The heartbreak when her dreamy lovebird future with Rob is crushed is palpable. Their budding romance isn’t love at first sight; it’s not “maybe I’d like to get to know you better”. It’s “I love you, you’re my best friend, and maybe I could be in love with you”.  Taking that next step with a good friend is scarytown (albeit exciting) and to have it not work out and to not work out in the worst possible way (i.e. losing your friend in the process) sucks. Bigtime heartache sucks. 

With Rob off romancing her cousin, she’s left with Charlie and Olivia, her two besties, who are at least there for her when she needs them, though I’m not sure they are people I would want to be friends with. To make matters worse, audiobook reader Sarah Grace’s performance of Olivia’s voice is extremely grating (whiny, high pitched). I’m not sure if we’re meant to like Olivia, or any of the characters, but this reading made it especially hard to imagine wanting to hang out with the girl. Aside from that voice, I quite enjoyed Sarah Grace’s performance throughout the audio recording. The voice of Rose is spot on – you hear her mix of nerves and excitement over the potential romance with Rob, her heartbreak and confusion with the various twists and turns, and her opening up to a potential new love. The pacing is also solid. I often find myself using the Audible app 1.5x or 2x speed settings when listening to audio, but here the pace needed no adjustment.

This is the story of a character on the sidelines – the character that isn’t even cast in productions of Romeo and Juliet – so we don’t get much in the way of the inside story of Rob and Juliet. It makes it hard to care whether or not their story ends the same way that Romeo and Juliet’s does. Rob loses me when he so quickly throws Rose aside for her cousin. You don’t do that to a friend. You don’t do that to someone you love. Juliet on the other hand, I did want a bit more from character development wise. I didn’t buy how Rose’s crew viewed her and I don’t think Rose did either, and eventually we do get a bit more from her. Still, some things remain a bit of a mystery, which is how it tends to work in the real world I suppose. I like a good person on the sidelines story, especially when their story ends up taking center stage, as it did here. While those two lovebirds are off doing whatever they do, our main character is dealing with her heartbreak, figuring out her world without Rob by her side, trying to understand her family’s issues, and exploring her growing interest in a new crush.

One thing I’m always curious about with contemporary Shakespeare adaptations, is wondering whether or not the characters see the connections? In this case it’s clear that in this story world Shakespeare exists (they are performing Macbeth at school) and apparently Romeo and Juliet does as well (a character refers to another jokingly as “Romeo” in one scene), so how do they not notice how weird it is that someone named Juliet Caplet is in love with someone whose last name is Monteg? This isn’t a complaint or a critique of the work, but it’s something that’s always on my mind when reading or watching adaptations. Are they all just dim-witted? Not well-read? Regardless, it’s a fun exercise in suspension of disbelief.

Em’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Author: Rebecca Serle
Reader: Sarah Grace
Publishers: Simon Pulse & Brilliance Audio (May 2012)

A Brief BEA Recap

10 Jun

Breakfast looked a little something like this...

I had the pleasure of spending last week in NYC, seeing friends and family, and attending Book Expo America. After a fun weekend in Brooklyn, I started off the week at the Book Blogger Conference. Over breakfast, authors hopped tables, briefly visiting with attendees. My ideal tables were taken by the time I got there, but after the first rotation I decided to make it happen and I found a table with some friendly looking people who were kind enough to let me squeeze a chair in just in time to hear from Justin Cronin about his upcoming book, The Twelve, which is easily my most anticipated release of 2012 (yes, I have guilt feelings as a YA blogger). Jenny Han stopped by next and then Anthony Swofford. I scored a pretty sweet table. It was interesting hearing from the various authors and my tablemates were friendly and asked some great questions. I stayed for Jennifer Weiner‘s keynote as well, which was fun, but didn’t really speak to me as a blogger. At least she made me laugh.

And then I left the BBC for a lunch date with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Barbara & Lily Kingsolver. As anyone who has read Barbara Kingsolver novels would likely guess, she is friendly and down-to-earth and extremely welcoming (Lily as well!). After a nice lunch with these ladies, I headed back to the Javits in time to catch most of the final BBC session, which unfortunately didn’t offer me anything new (I attended a similar panel last year) so I decided to head out afterward. On my way out, I ran into Kimberly Sabatini, a Hudson Valley based author who I had met before at Oblong Books & Music. She introduced me to Hillary Weisman Graham (author of Reunited) who lives near where I grew up and spoke at my high school recently (go Sabers!), and to Lisa of The Young Adult Connection who I ended up running into many times throughout the week. Very nice ladies.

At least two of us are wearing underpants. I can't speak for Rebecca.

Tuesday and Wednesday were all sorts of fun! This was my first year at BEA and I had a great time. One of my favorite things was just talking with people; whether waiting in line, or at the publisher’s booths, it was nice getting to know who was there and what books or trends they were most excited about. Tuesday I met Rebecca of Crunchings & Munchings for the first time (we also met Captain Underpants) and the following day she introduced me to Judith and Ellen from I Love YA Fiction. Over the two days, I had fun running into fellow bloggers as well as folks from back home – authors, librarians, and booksellers! I attended a few panels (Young Adult Editor’s Buzz, The Ongoing Evolution of YA Fiction, and Graphic Novelists of 2012), stood in line for some autographs (the only significantly long line that I waited in was for Justin Cronin – otherwise, I chose my battles), and picked up some galleys for the blog, for my library, and for my radio co-hosts.

Books I’m Most Excited To Have In My Grubby Little Hands:

  • The Twelve by Justin Cronin
  • Adaptation by Malinda Lo
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
  • Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull
  • Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
  • What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier – for my radio kids! I’ve already read this via Netgalley and it is fabulous!
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

  • I also finally put in my request on Netgalley for Skylark by Meagan Spooner based on the editor’s plug at the Young Adult Editor’s Buzz panel, so while I didn’t pick up a physical copy, I’m excited to read that one as well!

    And of course it was fun just to gaze at the books and displays – a personal favorite was HarperCollins’ Charlotte’s Web web (and not just because I love mini-clothespins). Quirk Books, Chronicle Books, and Abrams were especially fun booths to browse and I loved when publishers had a lot of display copies out to peruse (Little, Brown and Scholastic getting a special head nod here).

    It was a great week but I am glad to be home, especially since now I can get back to reading! (weekend read: This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers!!) Hope everyone who attended had a fun time! Thanks to everyone in the book world for being so fabulous!

    June is Looking Good!

    1 Jun

    June is looking to be an exciting month! BEA is next week and today starts one of my favorite book recognition months – Audiobook Month! Check out our Listen Up posts for reviews of some of our favorite audiobooks! We’ll also be doing some fun giveaways this month so keep an eye out for those! And of course there are new releases coming our way! Here are some interesting June YA releases – one I’ll call YAnough – that I’m keeping my eye on.

    Transcendence by C.J. Omololu
    Walker Childrens: June 5

      Past lives as special abilities, adventure, and romance! Cole is confused by the visions she keeps having until she meets Griffon who explains that these visions are past lives that she is remembering, and that remembering is a special gift. With this gift comes responsibility and Cole must develop her abilities and figure out her feelings for Griffon, who has a shocking secret from a past shared life.

    The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
    Riverhead: June 5

      Summer in the city with teenaged Louise Brooks and her unwanted chaperone? Sounds good to me! The 1920s are such a fun and interesting time period and Louise Brooks was a fascinating character in real life, so I’m hoping this will all translate well to the page. This is one historical fiction novel that I’m ready to dive into. It is also the not-quite-YA title in the bunch, but I’m all for crossovers!

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine #10 by Andrew Chambliss, Scott Allie, Cliff Richards, Andy Owens, Michelle Madsen, Phil Noto
    Dark Horse: June 13

      I honestly just like any excuse to share these beautiful covers. BtVS comics are like candy to me. They’re like little treasures that don’t last nearly long enough. I’ve enjoyed the Apart (of Me) arc so far and the whole “season” in general. I’m excited with what they’re doing out there in the Buffyverse. Go team!

    Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
    Bloomsbury Kids: June 19

      I’m a bit concerned that this book will crush me. Struggling, young, war veteran stories hurt my heart. (for example, this Pulitzer Prize winning work) I think this story has a happy ending and sincere moments of happiness along the way, but still…there will probably be tears. I haven’t read any contemporary fiction featuring veterans from Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., and I think it’s important to hear these stories.

    This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
    St. Martin’s Griffin: June 19

      Zombies! Hurrah! This might be the first non-graphic novel zombie story that I have read. Can that be true? Having just read (well, listened to) Courtney Summers’ Cracked Up To Be, I’m ready for more Summers fabulousness mixed with a touch of scary! This is also one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2012. No pressure.

    What June release are you most excited for?