Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Cybils Mini-Reviews

Cybils is done! Well, our part of it, anyway. Sunday night, the Round 1 YA Fiction panelists met virtually and held a spirited, sometimes silly, sometimes frustrating (technology - gotta love it) discussion narrowing the 182 choices down to the top (insert much smaller number). It took almost five hours, mainly because we have seven very different panelists with very different tastes and perspectives - exactly what every judging panel needs, I think. At long last, we came up with our final list, which is...

Top secret! You didn't think I would really tell you, did you? Nope, you will have to wait until Saturday, when you can go to Cybils.com and watch the results from all the Round One panels as they are revealed throughout the day. Librarians, have your order cards ready, because these will be the best of the best! We all had favorites that didn't make the cut for whatever reason (sniff), so you know the ones that did had some pretty strong backing all around.

In the meantime, we can all now get back to actually BLOGGING about some of those great books. We turtles have been so busy reading (not to mention all that holiday stuff), we haven't had time to scribble out more than a few words for our typist. We hope to begin making up for that, and we'll start here with a few more mini-reviews of Cybils contenders:

by Natalie Standiford
The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.
Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.
And so the confessions begin....

We confess we were hoping for some secrets a bit darker and more shocking, but what we got was entertaining enough. We also toyed with the idea that grandma didn't know squat, and was just fishing for dirt. We won't say how right or wrong we were on that, let's just say everybody learned something new, and we don't necessarily mean a moral lesson! No, there wasn't much remorse except in getting caught, and not a lick of character development. But, still a fun, light read. We give it a

3 out of 5.
by Eliot Schrefer

Abby Goodwin is sure her sister Maya isn't a murderer. But her parents don't agree. Her friends don't agree. And the cops definitely don't agree. Maya is a drop-out, a stoner, a girl who's obsessed with her tutor, Jefferson Andrews...until he ends up dead. Maya runs away, and leaves Abby following the trail of clues. Each piece of evidence points to Maya, but it also appears that Jefferson had secrets of his own. And enemies. Like his brother, who Abby becomes involved with...until he falls under suspicion.

Is Abby getting closer to finding the true murderer? Or is someone leading her down a twisted false path?
Nice, dark mystery with enough plot twists and red herrings to keep readers guessing to the end. Most teens will love every bit of it. How far should Abby go to protect her sister? What - or who - should she be willing to sacrifice? What, ultimately, is the truth? Be prepared for some loud outbursts when readers get to the ending. We give it a

4 out of 5.

by Watt Key
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hal is no saint, and has some time to serve in a high-security boys' home. His plan is to keep his head down and stay out of trouble, so he can get out as soon as possible and rebuild his life with his father. Everything seems stacked against him, though, from the two gangs trying to force him to choose sides, to the warden who has no interest in letting any of his charges leave early.

A companion to Alabama Moon, which we hadn't read - and didn't need to. This one stands just fine on its own, although we will be going back to read Alabama Moon soon. A powerful story that sucks you in quickly, we became extremely frustrated with the trap Hal found himself in. Teens are usually quick to protest injustice, and this book is sure to get them riled up. We would have given in to despair early on, but Hal has more strength than we expect. This would make a great class read - if you have a supportive administration and parents! We give it a

5 out of 5.

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