The Crown by Kiera Cass – The Selection Series Volume Five

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THE CROWN
(THE SELECTION SERIES #5)
by Kiera Cass
(HarperTeen; $19.99, Ages 14 and up)

 

The_Crown by Kiera Cass book cover

 

Since Kiera Cass’ The Heir left off on a heart-wrenching cliffhanger, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the next and final installment of The Selection series, The Crown. Princess Eadlyn faces the fear of possibly losing her mother, while having to step into very large and heavy shoes in the absence of her parents. As Maxon stays glued by his ailing wife’s side, Eadlyn must fill the role of both King and Queen while also continuing her Selection for the sake of her parents and her country. Eadlyn must also provide comfort for her younger brothers all on her own, as they are all still mourning the departure of Eadlyn’s twin brother, Ahren, after his surprise elopement to France. While the situation is extremely daunting, Eadlyn takes on these challenges, following in the strength of her mother, and blossoms into the woman she was always meant to be. She still struggles with whether love is actually possible for her, ever comparing it to the truest and deepest love her parents share, but she must find a way to do what’s right for herself, her family, and her people.

I recommend rereading the last few chapters of The Heir before reading The Crown to remember all the Selection candidates and Eadlyn’s feelings for each one. It reintegrated me back into the palace and Eadlyn’s life, allowing me to be wholly invested in her once again. I waited an entire year to read this book, and Kiera Cass did not disappoint. She gave me everything I wanted in an ending and allowed me, as a devoted reader, to lovingly say goodbye to these characters. I’m sad it’s over and will likely read the entire series again, just to experience it one more time.

  • Reviewed by Krista Jefferies

    Click here to get more info about Kiera Cass.
    Read  Krista’s review of The Heir here.


Glass Sword (Red Queen, Volume 2) by Victoria Aveyard

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GLASS SWORD
Red Queen; Volume number 2
by Victoria Aveyard
(HarperTeen; $19.99, Ages 14 and up)

 

Glass_Sword

 

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard is the next installment of her riveting series Red Queen. The story picks up right where we left off in the previous book. Mare and Cal are now fugitives, having fought their way out of their own executions. Maven, now king after using his mother’s power to force Cal to kill his own father, is in pursuit of Mare and Cal aided by his entire army and a society of Silvers, who have been manipulated to believe in his lies. Mare realizes that the only way to win this fight is to find others like her, those they call “new bloods.”

Aveyard brings in a little bit of an X-Men feel as the “new bloods” are slowly found. They are Reds with Silver abilities but are stronger than the Silvers themselves. They learn how to control and use their powers while preparing for war against Maven. However, Mare is constantly torn between her need to save others, her own self-doubt, and the betrayal that surrounds her. Two things are always constant in this book, lives are always at stake and you never know whom to trust. As Julian, Mare’s former teacher and Cal’s uncle, said repeatedly in Mare’s lessons, “Anyone can betray anyone,” and this mantra remains true as the story progresses.

Mare is searching for the new bloods, but Maven is too, so every venture out to find them is a risk of her life and that of her team. Maven sets trap after trap in order to catch the new bloods and, more importantly, to try and catch Mare. Throughout the novel, the relationship between Mare and Cal is ever intriguing, but it’s not clear what their future holds. This book is hardly predictable, but the one entirely foreseeable element is betrayal, right up until the end. It will be tough to wait an entire year to see what happens next, but I will be on the edge of my seat, eagerly awaiting the next book and what is sure to be an exciting conclusion.

  • Reviewed by Krista Jefferies

Click here to read Krista’s review of Red Queen.


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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 RED QUEEN
written by Victoria Aveyard
(HarperTeen; $17.99, Ages 14 and up)

RedQueencvr.jpg

In yet another riveting tale that falls somewhere in-between the Dystopian and Fantasy genres, we see The Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent collectively mirrored in Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen, particularly in the unbalanced caste system, a displaced protagonist, an alluring romance, widespread uprising, and unbridled betrayal.

Mare Barrow is a young girl working to survive in a society with two castes, the silver-blooded elite and the red bloods who serve them. The Silvers are the upper echelons of society with superhuman powers, but perhaps the most important ability they have is to keep the Reds in their place. Mare gets mistakenly drawn into the walls of palace life where she discovers that she, too, has powers of her own. What she really wants, however, is the power to take down the Royals who keep her family and the rest of the Reds nearly starving and struggling to survive. While one of the most difficult things to endure is leaving her family and worrying about their safety, Mare finds that what’s even harder is discovering who she is and whom she can trust.

While some parts were a bit predictable, others had surprising little twists that kept me quickly turning pages to see what would happen next. I found myself rooting for Mare Barrow and the Reds, and I’m looking forward to Aveyard’s next installment of this colorful saga.

– Reviewed by Krista Jefferies


The Heir by Kiera Cass

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The Heir
Written by Kiera Cass
(
HarperTeen; $18.99, Ages 14 and up)

TheHeircvr.jpg

Kiera Cass has captured the hearts of readers worldwide with her #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, and she continues to keep us captivated with her fourth book in the series, The Heir. The collection itself has become widely known as The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games with a bit of Cinderella mixed in.

Books 1-3 center around Prince Maxon and his endeavor to find a wife, who will be his queen once he becomes King of Illéa (essentially the United States post war). One of the 35 contestants is America Singer, a young lady of a lower caste than most of the other girls. While the others are vying for a place in the palace as well as in Maxon’s heart, America resists because, while a life with Maxon would mean raising her family’s status, it would also mean denying her true love whom she must leave behind. America soon discovers, however, that a life with Maxon is exactly what she wants and more than she could have dreamed of, and she must fight to the end to attain it.

Book 4, The Heir, is set twenty years later and tells a similar tale through Princess Eadlyn, daughter of King Maxon and his bride, Queen America. Though Eadlyn is also resistant to the Selection from the start, like her mother had been, she begins to learn that perhaps love is possible in the most unlikely of circumstances, and maybe happily ever after is meant for her after all. Much like her parents did in the past, Eadlyn faces much political and personal turmoil during the selection process.

Cass leaves us on the edge of our seats at the cliffhanger ending of this book as we await the fifth and final volume of the series, which is due to be released in the spring of 2016. These books will draw in readers of all ages. In fact, they were recommended to me by my 14-year-old niece, an avid reader who said these were her favorites of any books she’s ever read. Though there are more than 20 years between us, I too was enchanted by this ongoing saga, so much so that I read all four novels in just three days! Though I am disappointed that I have to wait months to read its conclusion, I will be much more disappointed when it’s over.

–  Reviewed by Krista Jefferies

 

 

 


Fridays Featuring Flintridge – Basics on Bullies

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Today Catherine Linka shares her picks of …


STORIES ABOUT BULLIES

Bullying takes all forms from power plays to violence, and most children today will run into it. They may be the victims or merely onlookers or they may turn out to be the bullies. Writers are tackling this phenomenon with books for all different age groups. The styles and tone of these books are all different so you can pick the book that seems right for your child. We aren’t going to stamp out bullying, but the right book can give a child the tools or reassurance he or she needs to cope.

 

THE BULLY BOOK ($16.99, Harper Collins) by Eric Kahn Gale

Perfect for 5th-7th grade readers. An average kid gets bullied and tracks down an instructional manual for bullies. Excerpts from the actual manual interspersed with text are especially interesting. A book that kids will really feel is true to their own experiences. Shows how bullying doesn’t have to be personal or something the target brought on. (Ages 8-12 years old)

 

WONDER ($15.99, Knopf Books For Young Readers) by R J Palacio

This book reminds me of A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY. The main character is a fifth grade boy who was born disfigured and is attending school for the first time. Told in several voices including those of his classmates and sibling. He has great impact on those around him. Palacio shows the emotions and reactions of everyone he has to deal with. Kids can see there are two sides to every story. Great discussion book. (Ages 8+) Adult readers LOVE this book.  NOTE:  Click here to read Good Reads With Ronna’s Amanda Hogg review of this terrific book

 

COLIN FISCHER by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

Colin is a genius with Asperger’s syndrome and a penchant for mystery-solving. He is bullied, but ends up proving his bully’s innocence in a crime. Funny and sarcastic –supportive parents, but annoying younger brother.  Alternative for younger teens to THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME. Vague reference to oral sex.  The first in a series. (Ages 12+) November publication date

 

PLAYGROUND by 50 Cent (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson)

I got interested in Curtis after seeing Oprah interview him. He was thoughtful, not bombastic. PLAYGROUND is a semi-autobiographical novel. Eighth grader Butterball clocks another student in the mouth with a sockful of batteries and is court-ordered into therapy. This is bullying from the bully’s perspective. Butterball has reasons for his actions, but he’s also pressured into fighting by peers. Great discussion book for teens. Urban setting. Language. Sexuality. (fall paperback)

 

DEAR BULLY: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories ($9.99, HarperTeen) by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones

So many teen authors have dealt with bullying personally, they joined together and wrote an anthology of their own stories. Check out www.dearbully.com to see if one of your teen’s favorite writers is included and to read a story or two. Book is available in paperback in stores now. (Ages 14+)


Fridays Featuring Flintridge – Boys Like Hunger Games, Too!

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“WHY do more than 50% of boys surveyed consider themselves to be “non-readers” by the time they get in to high school? And why do boys entering high school in grade 9 typically lag behind girls by 3 to 4 grade levels in reading and writing? It didn’t used to be like this, and we can’t blame TV and video games.” —–Andrew Smith

Once again in our ongoing Fridays Featuring Flintridge column, Catherine Linka of Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Canada, California weighs in on what she believes are some other surefire hits for fans of HUNGER GAMES. For more about Catherine, please visit About Our Reviewers page.

HUNGER GAMES has lit a fire under a lot of young readers who hunger for high-stakes excitement. Many twelve and thirteen year-old boys abandon reading, because it doesn’t interest them anymore. Books that offer the excitement of TV or video games, BUT that introduce ethical questions and consequences can get reluctant readers to keep going through the story.

Books for HUNGER GAMES LOVERS

RECOMMENDED READING STARTS HERE! 

DIVERGENT and INSURGENT by Veronica Roth ($17.99 Hardcover; $9.99 Paperback, HarperTeen)

A huge hit with both guys and girls in my Teen Advance Readers club. DIVERGENT is now in paper and INSURGENT has just been released. An intriguing, futuristic culture where personality tests determine your clan and role in society. Romance, martial arts, war and betrayal. Very fast-paced. (12+)

STARTERS by Lissa Price ($17.99 Hardcover; $9.99 Trade Paperback, Random House)

My favorite of 2012. In this cinematic, futuristic novel, a young girl accepts a well-paying job–to rent her body to an older woman to have fun while her mind is dormant. But it turns out the woman intends to use her body to assassinate someone. How cool is that?! (12+)

LEGEND by Marie Lu ($17.99, Putnam Juvenile)

My favorite of 2011. Sequel PRODIGY  due in January. A twist on Les Mis where a boy who is enemy number one is tracked by a girl who is a brilliant, highly-trained and  relentless pursuer who thinks he killed her brother. Lots of action! Guys and girls love it. (12+)

THE ROAR by Emma Clayton ($ 12.59 Hardcover; $6.29 Paperback, Scholastic)

Finally, finally, finally in paperback. For a younger reader than ENDER’S GAME. A boy who’s very talented at gaming thinks he’s training to become a better player when in reality he’s being trained to go to war. The sequel is just released. Very exciting. (10+)

MORTAL ENGINES by Phillip Reeve ($9.99 Paperback, Scholastic) 

Finally, finally released in paperback this month. Four book series for 10+. The final book won the LA Times Prize for Children’s Books. The coolest concept ever: cities on tractor treads chase other cities, catch them and dismantle them –municipal Darwinism. In this book the historians are the heroes. Lots of action! (11+)

THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary Pearson

For teens or adults– thought provoking. I could definitely see an adult book club
discussing the ethical questions it poses. A young girl awakes from a yearlong coma and discovers that
her biotech father may have gone too far to keep her alive after a car crash.  (13+)

Please visit the Flintridge Bookstore today to pick up your copy of these great books, buy gifts, enjoy their extensive selection of other great reads  and relax over a great cup of coffee.  Also visit the website at www.flintridgebooks.com to keep up-to-date with story times author events and other exciting special events.


Starcrossed and Strong, A Female Character to Admire

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Starcrossed ($17.99, HarperTeen, ages 13 and up) by Josephine Angelini is reviewed today by Amanda Hogg. 

Helen Hamilton is ridiculously strong, impervious to weapons, can travel between to the land of dead and guide people back from near death and, oh yeah – she’s gorgeous to boot. With all of that going for her, you might think her life should be a breeze. But unfortunately she’s still a teenager in love with Lucas Delos, a boy who’s passionate about her one minute and telling her that nothing will ever happen between them the next. Between that and the family of ancient Greek demi-gods that want her dead, Helen’s life has gotten extremely complicated.

Starcrossed is set up as a modern day Greek tragedy that deals with the themes of love, loss, vengeance and the relationship between men and gods. Readers will recognize many of the classic Greek mythology characters and story lines and may want to bust their Heroes, Gods and Monsters out of storage.

I’m loving all of the strong female characters in teen fiction right now and Helen Hamilton in Starcrossed is no exception. As Helen begins to learn and understand how to control her god-like skills, she becomes a confident woman, firm in her opinions and abilities. Although she pines for Lucas, she is never whiny nor does she sacrifice any part of herself. Her relationship with Lucas and her newfound abilities make her a stronger, better person. Angelini’s Starcrossed is packed with action and romance and the perfect amount of comic release. Watch this space for my review of her next book, Dreamless, coming soon