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review: “invisible i” January 26, 2010

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Invisible I by Stella Lennon & Melissa Kantor.
HarperTeen // Hardcover // 304 pages.
Reviewed from library copy.

When Amanda Valentino disappears from school, Callie is suddenly called into the vice principal’s office along with two other classmates — Hal and Nia. The only thing that the three of them has in common is Amanda and what she left behind for them to find. Can they figure out the clues from Amanda in order to find their friend?

Number one — thank you, thank you, thank you for deciding to create one author name (alias Stella Lennon), HarperTeen! You have made the lives of librarians easier.

This is an amazing concept novel. Think of it as “The 39 Clues” for teens. It’s an interactive, multi-author journey to find Amanda. Teens are encouraged to join in the search at The Amanda Project, where they can write themselves into the story as Amanda’s classmates or teachers. There will be eight books total, all written by well-known YA authors.

Honestly, out of all three of the characters, I was least interested in Callie. I really want to learn more about Hal and Nia (and I’ll get to in the next two books), but that made reading “Invisible I” just a little bit frustrating for me.

My biggest problem with the book was that it felt like nothing but question after question. The novel takes a while to set up the plot, and we don’t receive a lot of answers, but I really enjoyed the ride. I am hoping that the pace of the books will pick up as we go along and discover more about Amanda.

My teens are really liking this book and I know some of them are participating in the online portion. I’ll be interested to see if the series picks up momentum or loses it as it progresses.

A good solid start to a mystery series for public libraries.

SWAN catalog
The Amanda Project
Melissa Kantor



classic review: “how to be bad” August 19, 2009

Posted by Katie in classic reviews.
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[Classic reviews are reviews that I’ve already written for another source and have moved the text here. I may comment further on them as well.]


How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle.
HarperTeen // Hardcover // 336 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Vicks, Mel, and Jesse — three unlikely friends — with one thing in common: they’re trapped in a car trying to get as far away as possible from Niceville, Florida armed with only a battered copy of the Fantastical Florida guide book. Heartbreak, breaking and entering, sight-seeing, and more than a few fights about music choices later, the girls figure out that this road trip will mean more than they ever expected.

I really liked this book. The girls were totally relatable and I completely saw myself in Mel. (Yes, believe it or not, I was the good girl.) Anyways, the coolest part about this book is that three different authors wrote it together. I think that’s the reason that the girls had such different voices. There’s a really neat interview with the authors available at Publisher’s Weekly about writing the book. (It’s a little bit long, but worth it.) If you’re looking for an escape, this is the book for you. [June 2008]

This novel still remains as one of my favorites to recommend when a teen comes to me asking for books about friendships, road trips, or chick lit. Seriously, check out the link to the interview between the authors — it gives you just a preview of how they constructed the nove, and I think it offers a great glimpse into what the writing style of the book was.

I’m still crossing my fingers that they collaborate on a second novel, but until then, I can honestly say that I’ve each writer’s individual titles and series too. Check them out!

SWAN catalog
E. Lockhart
Sarah Mlynowski
Lauren Myracle