Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard + My Tikal Pics

When I heard that Kristen Hubbard was coming out with a book about backpackers in Guatemala, I knew I had to read it.  Because I've been a backpacker myself, love to travel and went to Guatemala for 3 weeks right after college.

And WANDERLOVE was a fun ride.  After a bad breakup with her boyfriend, one that causes her to rethink attending art school, Bria Sandoval impulsively signs up for a tour of Guatemala.  But when the tour group turns out to be all middle-aged tourists, Bria breaks away from the group to travel with backpackers Starling and her brother Rowan.

What I really love about WANDERLOVE is how well Hubbard captures the feeling of independent travel.  There's the exhilaration of discovery as well as the annoyance with inconveniences.

I have to admit that I found it kind of funny (but endearing) how much Bria idolized backpackers in the early chapters.  Backpacker portrayal in the fiction I've read runs the gamut from self-appointed gods (THE BEACH by Alex Garland) to clueless wanderers (ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? by William Sutcliffe, one of the most hilarious books I've ever read - check it out).

But Hubbard keeps the novel from being a complete love letter to backpacker culture with her characterization of Rowan.  His way of thinking is sometimes incredibly arrogant, sometimes undeniably appealing.  He has that typical superior backpacker attitude that his way is the right way, and everyone else is doing it wrong (and Bria calls him on it).  But Hubbard shows us a generous side of him, the caring core that slips out in the quiet moments - in the evening swinging in a shared hammock for example.

WANDERLOVE takes us on a tour of Guatemala and Belize, but it's a complete story thanks to the careful character arcs of both Bria and Rowan.  Bria's evolution is a gradual realization that she needs to take a more active role in her own destiny and Rowan needs to face up to and move past the youthful indiscretions that haunt him.  Bria and Rowan's relationship has its ups and downs, but deep down, they're good for each other.  It beautiful, really.

I have to talk a bit about the locations as well.  Many of them I knew well - from my own trip, and it was thrilling to see them come alive again on the page via Hubbard's colorful writing.  On her blog, Hubbard does a wonderful series spotlighting the various settings in WANDERLOVE - complete with pictures and excerpts from the book.  You get to explore (an * indicates that I've been there too):

Antigua Guatemala*
Chichicastenango, Guatemala*
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala*
Panajachel, Guatemala*
Santa Lucia, Guatemala (fictional village on the shores of Lake Atitlan, I visited Santiago de Atitlan while I was there.  Ask me sometime about the curse of Maximon)
Chicken buses* (oh yeah, rode lots of these)
Guatemala City, Guatemala*
Rio Dulce, Guatemala*
Livingston, Guatemala*
Punta Gorda, Belize
Belize City, Belize
Laughingbird Caye, Belize (fictional)
Flores, Guatemala*
Tikal, Guatemala*

On my trip, I also visited the ruins of Copan in Honduras, a place on Bria's original itinerary before she ditched her group.

Here I am in front of one of the main temples in Tikal.

And this was one of my favorite moments in Tikal - sitting on top of the temple, looking out over the jungle and being throughly entertained by monkeys.

WANDERLOVE is available now. Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: I read a galley provided by the publisher on NetGalley.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Apocalypsies Love Book Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Apocalypsies Love is all about me telling you what I loved about a 2012 debut book written by one of the amazing Apocalypsies. I also chat with the author to gain insight into their very favorite parts of their creation.

Today I am spotlighting BORN WICKED, a historial/paranormal about a witch who needs to protect herself and two younger sisters in a repressive New England society.  In order not to attract undue attention to her sisters, Cate must appear at society functions, agree to marry someone soon (even though her heart may lie elsewhere) and keep all magic a secret.

Immediately after reading this, I complied a list of things to love:

Fascinating alt history with repressive society (lots of gender politics to explore)

Secret passageway + darkness + first kiss = HOT!

Pretty dresses & fancy teas

Responsible main character who'd do anything for her sisters and proves it

Killer climax and ending that left me dying for book 2, STAR CURSED.

I'm also thrilled that Jessica is here today to tell us all about things she loves about her book.

What is your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite scene is Cate's first kiss, which takes place in a secret room in Belastra's bookshop. It's pretty swoony, if I do say so myself. I was delighted that Penguin chose to feature it in the BORN WICKED book trailer!

My fave too - as I mentioned above. What is your favorite line in the book?
The first line: Our mother was a witch too, but she hid it better. It was the first line from the very beginning. When I first conceived of BW, it was the first sentence that came to me in Cate's voice, presenting her troubles (dead mother, sisters, need to hide their magic), so it's special to me.

What setting was most fun to write?
I loved writing the gazebo scene between Finn and Cate. Fun fact: my first kiss with my husband was in a waterfront gazebo in our college town, where he proposed to me years later! I also had lots of fun with the creepy cemetery scene, playing around with the midnight-coven-meeting setting. I think it's quite spooky, even before you add in the mad oracle in their midst.

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
Sachi! I love that there is so much depth to her, that she is clever and funny and deeply, deeply loyal beneath that carefully-maintained facade of the perfect, cabbage-headed daughter of the Brotherhood. She has so many secrets -- even more than Cate, actually. She wasn't initially intended to be such a major character but now I find her fascinating. I don't think there will be any spin-off books, but I'd love to write a story about her; there's some important stuff is going on with her between BORN WICKED and the sequel that Cate isn't privy to.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
The Breathless Reads tour! I love the other Breathless girls (Andrea Cremer, Marie Lu, Beth Revis), touring with them was so fun, and and meeting readers was amazing. I am still just thrilled to pieces whenever I hear that someone's read my book, so meeting readers in person who told me how much they loved BW -- I treasured that. 

Thanks Jessica!
BORN WICKED is available now. Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I have had dinner more than once with Jessica and plan to again :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunger Games Movie Review + Links

Last night I went with Daniel and friends to see THE HUNGER GAMES movie.  Before I headed to the theatre, I read a ton of reviews, including one from Entertainment Weekly (LS gave it an A) and one from Posh of Forever Young Adult.

Posh prepared me for the good (Mockingjay Moments) and the not-so-good (Trackerjacker Stings), so I went in with medium expectations.  For the most part, I really enjoyed this adaptation.  It was amazing to see Panem come to life on screen.  The sets and costumes rocked and the overall production was slick. I loved how the credits started rolling at the end with the Arcade Fire song Abraham's Daughter (perfection!).

I thought the actors did a great job with the screen time they had, but I wanted more character moments for many of them.  The only characters we really get to spend adequate time with are Katniss (and Jennifer Lawrence owns this part - so, so good), Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci wowed me), Seneca Crane (loved his final scene) and President Snow (best experienced in small doses).  I needed more Peeta, more Haymitch, more Cinna, more Effie, more Rue, more tributes.  Rue gets a few great close-ups (and yes, the tears flowed) and Effie has her big scene at the Reaping, but in general, I wanted to see more. Everything just went by so fast, in a blur.  There needs to be a extended version DVD, for serious.

The most serious drawback for me was the hand-held camera work.  It was so shaky in places, my friend actually had to leave the theatre less than halfway through.  I don't do well on spinny rides or roller coasters, and I left the theatre with a serious headache.

I was also disappointed with the lack of chemistry between Katniss and Peeta.  Though both actors played their characters well (and Josh nails Peeta's charm, especially in his interviews with Caesar), they didn't sizzle together. I have to agree with Posh that it seems like the filmmakers were team Gale.  Gale is only in a few scenes, but the looks Gale and Katniss give each other show way more desire than anything in Peeta and Katniss' whole arc.  Maybe we can chalk this up to Katniss' playacting her feelings for Peeta - but if I were a Capitol citizen, I would have been pretty unconvinced of their star-crossed romance.  Their kiss was all kinds of awkward. Though, my heart did beat a bit faster in the cave scene with the wiping of the blood from the brow - so it wasn't a COMPLETE swoon desert as Posh declares in her review, but it was close.  ETA:  After rereading THE HUNGER GAMES, I notice there really isn't much swoon in book 1 on the page either.  Apparently, this is something I built up in my head, so my apologies.  Their choice to play it uncomfortable makes more sense now.

Can't wait until the DVD comes out (extended version please!) so I can watch approximately 100 more times.

And now for some links:

This week on the League, I talked about my own HUNGER GAMES reading journey: The Hunger Games owes its Success to Me

YA Highway has an interview with a movie extra (she played a Capitol citizen)

Kimberly F of Stacked reviews the movie (she also doesn't like the shaky cam)

OK - now I have to go reread THE HUNGER GAMES book.  Let me know your movie reactions in the comments!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blog Tour: Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler

I've been following the Riders of the Apocalypse books since the beginning, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read the third book in the series, LOSS.  LOSS is different than the first two installments in that it takes the fantasy element much further. Instead of seeing a teen gearing up to take on the mantle of a rider, we have a teen trying to get the current rider (in this case Pestilence) to return to his job.  We get to see more of the mechanics of the concept (fascinating stuff) and take a decidedly dreamlike journey into the mind of a very troubled entity. 

I have Jackie on the blog today, and she's here to talk covers. Give her a warm welcome!

Books and their Covers
By Jackie Morse Kessler

Most authors who are published by commercial publishers don’t get a lot of say in their covers. Well, no, they get plenty of say—just usually not until after it’s too late to change anything. Sometimes, authors get lucky and are asked for their input or advice. Other times, they get no say in the matter and don’t see covers at all until after production. It’s a toss-up, and it will change from publisher to publisher, and even from author to author.

I got very, very (very) lucky with the Riders of the Apocalypse books. I love my covers. Huge love. Serious love. The incredibly talented Sammy Yuen {{LINK: }} designed the covers of the three books in the series so far, and I couldn’t be happier.

Each of the novels in the series focuses on a teenager suffering from a specific issue, and how the teen tackles that issue once she or he becomes one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. On the cover of Hunger, which is about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes Famine, an old-fashioned set of scales is front and center. The scales, also called a balance, is absolutely perfect—not only is it a nod to the topic of eating disorders, it’s also Famine’s symbol of office. The second book, Rage, is about a teen girl who self-injures and becomes the new avatar of War. That cover shows a sword—which is War’s symbol of office—tinged in red, as if the blade were stained with blood.

LOSS, which is about a bullied teenage boy who is tricked into becoming Pestilence, is different in that there isn’t one symbol in the book but two. In the story, Pestilence—also known as the Conqueror—wears a crown, but he also has a Bow that shoots arrows of disease. On the cover of LOSS, the crown is displayed prominently, but inside of it is a cluster of arrows. The colors are fantastic—the silver of the crown, the hints of purple that to me speak of royalty. 

And all three books have a foil treatment, making them all shiny—and that’s in both the literal and the Firefly sense. :) I really am so very lucky to have been blessed by the cover gods for this series. I’m in awe of Sammy’s talent and so very grateful that my publisher hired him.

What are some of your favorite covers?


LOSS by Jackie Morse Kessler comes out March 20, 2012!

GIVEAWAY: One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS—and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS—and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’.

Riders of the Apocalypse by Jackie Morse Kessler
Hunger (Harcourt Graphia, October 18, 2010)
Rage (Harcourt Graphia, April 4, 2011)
Loss (Harcourt Graphia, March 20, 2012)
Breath (Harcourt Graphia, TBA)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Return of Cat Tuesday (64) - New Bookshelves Edition!

The bookshelves in our home office finally exploded to the point we decided to get a new bookshelf to put in our guest/living room.  I plan to fill it slowly. 

The cats were very helpful while we built the shelf.

And they were helpful while we were shelving books.

Here's the finished product - can you spot the cat here too?

Right now, it houses most of my YA hardcovers, a few new adult hardcovers, some art books and some picture books. The shelf with the glass doors is meant to display OUR books. You can already see some copies of Daniel's Buffalo books in there.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Loving Tribute to Dorothy "Billie" Elmore Appelhans

My last surviving grandparent died yesterday.  Grandma Billie passed on after a multi-year battle with Alzheimer's and a heart infection.

Growing up an Air Force brat, I didn't get to see Grandma Billie all that often, though she did visit us in every place we lived and we often spent a few weeks of summer vacation at her house.  When I told people I was off to Kansas, they invariably asked if I was going to visit Dorothy (a Wizard of Oz joke), and I could always smile and say "... as a matter of fact, I am!", despite the fact Billie never went by her given name Dorothy.

Grandma Billie and Grandpa John with 6 of their grandkids. Can you find me? (Hint: I'm 16 here)

Billie was incredibly social - she could talk about anything to anybody.  She made killer tuna salad sandwiches and zucchini bread. She sold tupperware for years and years and was active in a business women's organization.

She also loved to collect things.  When I was a child, my brothers and I would pick out an owl figurine for her for Christmas. Later, it was anything Elvis related (she LOVED Elvis).  Then Santa Clauses (she had such a large collection, it was even photographed for the newspaper).  Once I began my world travels, I sent her a postcard from nearly every country I visited and she kept these in an album and would show them off to anyone who stopped by.

Billie and me (and an unfortunate pair of jeans): High School Graduation

I went to college only 3 hours away so I often drove home often on the weekends (by this time my family had moved back to Kansas - in the same town as Billie). During this period of my life, I spent a significant amount of time with Grandma Billie.  She got me hooked on her soap One Life to Live, kept me up-to-date on all the latest family gossip, and beat me regularly at Skip-Bo (we used to joke that she was born under a Skip-Bo star).

My roommate in Japan Ruth, me and Billie at my college graduation.

A few Christmases ago was the last we celebrated at her house before she moved into a care home due to her declining memory.  But even at the home, she was full of energy, helping new residents settle in and participating in activities.

At my 2006 wedding. We made sure we played Elvis for Billie.

I was blessed to get to spend one last Christmas with her in 2011. I wasn't 100% sure she really knew who I was anymore, but she squeezed my hand often and told me she loved me.  And I told her I loved her too.

Grandma Billie believed in angels, and she gave me two angel pins that I take me with on all my trips. She told me angels would watch over me and keep me safe.  Grandma Billie, I will always carry you in my heart. Until we meet again.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Apocalypsies Love! Book Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Apocalypsies Love is all about me telling you what I loved about a 2012 debut book written by one of the amazing Apocalypsies. I also chat with the author to gain insight into their very favorite parts of their creation.

Today I am spotlighting THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME. When her boyfriend Jacob breaks up with her, Brie dies of broken heart - literally. Her afterlife includes a guide named Patrick who is there to help her pass through the five stages of grief so she can move on. 

YOU GUYS! THIS BOOK! It killed me. Let me count the ways:

I love inventive premises like this - especially when the execution follows through. In this case, sections are divided into the five stages of grief. In the denial part of the story, Brie is this totally corny cheeseball who wants nothing more than to slip back into her old life. In the anger stage, her whole personality shifts to vindictive as she attempts to make Jacob pay for what he did to her. The bargaining section introduces some seriously scary elements to an afterlife that has up to this point seemed relatively harmless. Sadness - whoa. And finally acceptance - where the book's twist kicks in big time and we find out the real significance of the title.

The afterlife setting. I love to see how authors construct their fictional visions of the afterlife. In this case, we see the side of San Francisco that the dead experience. Rothenberg layers her narrative with imaginative world building flourishes, and though I was never 100% sure of the rules for the D&G (dead and gone), this uncertainly didn't detract from the story.

Brie. Full of flaws but also full of affection (for her parents, friends, and her dog Hamloaf), she comes off as a three-dimensional, real person. There are times you want to dance with her, times you want to hug her, and times you want to slap her.

The love story. It's untraditional. But absolutely riveting, heartbreaking and ultimately satisfying. And that's all I'm going to say about that!

Highly recommended!

Now let's chat with Jess:

What is your favorite scene in the book?
Probably the bonfire scene—when Brie watches her best friends celebrate her sixteenth birthday without her and finally say their goodbyes under a sky full of stars. (And then the next morning, when she uncovers a huge secret she never saw coming.)

What is your favorite line in the book?
I really adore the last lines of the book, borrowed from a poem my grandpa wrote for me when I was fifteen. It was so special to be able to incorporate his beautiful words into the story. He cried when he read the book, and it meant everything to me to know he loved it.

In the midst of happiness or despair
in sorrow or in joy
in pleasure or in pain:
Do what is right and you will be at peace.
In life there is no greater gift than peace,
except love.
May you always have love.

That is so sweet! What setting was most fun to write?
I absolutely loved setting the book in Half Moon Bay, California. It's just one of those places you visit that really stays with you. The sleepy, almost ghostly vibe of the town. The way the light can change in an instant when the clouds and fog roll in from the north. The epic stretches of pacific coastline. It’s just a really magical place.

I definitely need to visit now. Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why? 
 Haha, this one’s easy. Hamloaf! I just miss his sweet doggy face and could totally see him having a whole new set of adventures. Rin Tin Tin’s got nothing on the Haminator.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far? 
The day the deal happened was definitely the greatest/craziest day of my whole life thus far. But the best thing since has been hearing from teen readers to tell me how much they love the story; that it’s made them laugh and cry and literally hug their copy of the book afterwards. That’s been the coolest, most incredible thing!

Thanks Jess!

THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME is available now.  Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher.  I have had dinner more than once with Jess and plan to again :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dystopian Feb Recap Week 5

I am so sorry this recap is one week late ... but here's what went down on the last few days of Dystopian Feb:

Book Reviews:

THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass (Zombie Chicken Merit Badge for Romance)

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin (Zombie Chicken Merit Badge for Worldbuilding)


Genn Albin previews CREWEL (FSG/Oct 2012)

Elizabeth Richards previews BLACK CITY (Penguin/Nov 2012)

Kiera Cass talks THE SELECTION and Apocalypsies Love!


Upcoming Dystopian Sequels 

Upcoming Dystopian Novels (non-sequels)


Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin ARC
#80 Celine F of The Netherlands

Black City by Elizabeth Richards ARC
#13 Angela M from WV already won
#38 Laura D from TN

Apocalypsies Dystopian Starter Pack
#156 Minna W from MO

Apocalypsies Dystopian Starter Pack Runners Up
#8 Adrienn S from Hungary
#9 Carina O from Norway

Mari Mancusi Tomorrow Land Prize Pack
#63 April X from MO

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth ARCs
#12 Mallorie C from TX
#49 Tiffany P from AL

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers Preorders
#46 Melannie L from Mexico
#154 Debbie S from VA

HarperCollins Prize Pack
#55 Zoey (get in touch with your address!)

MacMillan Prize Pack Runner-Up (2 book prize)
Cornelia from Sweden

A big thank you goes out to prize sponsors, authors, and my readers for making #dystopianfeb so awesome.  See you in Dystopian August!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Return of Cat Tuesday (63)

Have you missed the kittehs during their long absence from the blog?  This week we got a new bookshelf, and next week, I'll post a picture.  For now you get Lu and Kaia playing with the box ...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Upcoming Dystopian Novels

Lots of good stuff coming up. See this post for a list of dystopian sequels.

Novels coming up that authors previewed in my dystopian month interview series and/or that I reviewed during Dystopian February 2012 (click on title to read summary and see cover when available):

Lissa Price's STARTERS (Random House/March 13, 2012)

Leah Bobet's ABOVE (Scholastic/April 1, 2012)

Julie Kagawa previews THE IMMORTAL RULES (HarlequinTeen/April 24, 2012)

Keira Cass' THE SELECTION (HarperCollins/April 24, 2012)

Bethany Griffin's THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (HarperCollins/April 24, 2012)

Jennifer Bosworth's STRUCK (FSG/May 8, 2012)

Catherine Knutsson previews SHADOWS CAST BY STARS(Atheneum/Simon & Schuster/June 5, 2012)

Emmy Laybourne's MONUMENT 14 (Feiwel & Friends/June 5, 2012)

Claire Merle previews THE GLIMPSE (Faber & Faber UK/June 7, 2012)

Diana Peterfreund previews FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins/June 12, 2012)

Courtney Summers' THIS IS NOT A TEST (June 18, 2012)

SJ Kincaid previews INSIGNIA (Katherine Tegan/HarperCollins/July 10, 2012)

Heather Anastasiu's GLITCH (St. Martins/August 7, 2012)

CJ Redwine previews DEFIANCE (HarperCollins/August 28, 2012)

Jay Kristoff previews STORMDANCER (St. Martins Press/US Tor/UK September 18, 2012)

Kat Zhang previews WHAT'S LEFT OF ME (HarperTeen/September 18, 2012)

Sarah Crossan previews BREATHE (HarperCollins/October 2, 2012)

Rachel Cohn previews BETA (Disney Hyperion/October 16, 2012)

Melissa West previews GRAVITY (Entangled/October 16, 2012)

Genn Albin previews CREWEL (FSG/October 16, 2012)

Antony John previews ELEMENTALS (Penguin/November 8, 2012)

Elizabeth Richards previews BLACK CITY (Penguin/November 13, 2012)

JA Souders previews RENEGADE (Tor/November 13, 2012)

Kassy Taylor previews ASHES OF TWILIGHT (St. Martins Press/November 13, 2012)

Alexandra Bracken previews THE DARKEST MINDS (Hyperion/December 18, 2012)

Lenore Appelhans previews LEVEL 2 (Simon & Schuster BFYR/Fall 2012)

Steven dos Santos previews THE CULLING (formerly THE TORCH KEEPER) (Flux/Early 2013)

Emma Pass previews ACID (Random House/Early 2013)

Joelle Charbonneau previews THE TESTING (HMH/Spring 2013)

Emma Trevayne previews CODA (Running Press/Spring 2013)

Lydia Y Kang previews THE FOUNTAIN (Penguin/Summer 2013)

Mindy McGinnis previews NOT A DROP TO DRINK (HarperCollins/Fall 2013)

Demitria Lunetta previews IN THE AFTER (HarperTeen/2013)

Suzanne Young previews THE PROGRAM (Simon & Schuster/2013)

Erin Bowman previews TAKEN (HarperCollins/2013)

Jordana Frankel previews THE WARD (HarperCollins/2013)

Some other upcoming titles: (links lead to listing at Goodreads)

S.D. Crockett’s AFTER THE SNOW (Feiwel and Friends/March 27, 2012)

Gemma Malley's THE KILLABLES (Hodder UK/March 29, 2012)

Karen Thompson’s Walker’s THE AGE OF MIRACLES (Random House/June 26, 2012)

Lisa Stasse's THE FORSAKEN (Simon & Schuster/July 10, 2012)

Bethany Pinnell's STUNG (Walker/2012)

Elsie Chapman's DUALED (Random House/March 2013)

Tom Isbell's THE HATCHERY (HarperCollins/2013)

Amy Tintera's REBOOT (HarperTeen/2013)

Peter Lerangis' PERFECT (Egmont/2013) 

Josin L. McQuein's ARCLIGHT  (HarperCollins/2013)

C. Alexander London's debut PROXY, about two boys from opposite ends of a society where the poor are paid to take punishments for the rich, and the conspiracy which engulfs them both. Penguin

DARK LIFE author Kat Falls's THE FETCH, a dystopian romance trilogy set in a future where the U.S. has been divided by a wall separating the civilized West from the disease-ravaged East - now called the Savage Zone - in which a 16-year-old must leave everyone she loves behind to enter the frightening Savage Zone, where she meets a mysterious boy who's not all that he seems to be. Scholastic/Fall 2012

Sara Grant's HALF LIVES, a dystopian chronicle of the journeys of two unlikely heroes in their race against time to save future generations. Little Brown/Fall 2012

Chris Howard's debut THE TREE CATCHER, a smart futuristic Huck Finn about a teen who builds trees out of scrap metal for rich patrons until a mysterious girl shows him a polaroid of the legendary last trees on earth, and he sets out in a deadly race against time to find them in this upside down old-west, post-apocalyptic, gypsy-rasta world of killers, pirates, poachers, and opportunists.

Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam's ELUSION, pitched as an "Inception"-type futuristic thriller series about three teenagers attempting to solve a mystery with serious personal stakes that leads them inside an alternate reality game that transports users to dangerously seductive Utopian world. 

Melanie Crowder's PARCHED, an eco-fable set in a near future shaped by water wars and following three very different characters in a struggle for survival in their parched land.   (HMH/2013)  

Keep up to date with all the latest titles at Amy Sturgis' master list of YA dystopias

Are there any I missed? Let me know in the comments and I'll edit them in!  

The Best Books You Aren't Reading Book Club - Join Us!

Kelly J (of STACKED) and I were talking about books we have read and liked recently, as well as books we'd love to reread and experience again. Then we got to discussing books that have fallen into these categories that haven't seen enough discussion and haven't been shown enough attention.

That's when we thought: why not start a book club of sorts?

"The Best Books You're Not Reading" is a very informal book discussion she and I will be spearheading, and we hope you will join us.

All you have to do is read the book and join us on Twitter for the discussion. If you can't join us there (or even if you can), we also encourage you to blog about the book and share your thoughts. Our goal is to get these titles a little more exposure and have a broader discussion of those books that haven't received the attention we think they should.

Three weeks from today -- March 29 -- we will have our first discussion on Twitter starting at 6 pm EST, and we'll be chatting about this book:

Pick up a copy at your library or purchase a copy and join us for what should be a really fun discussion about one of our favorite under-appreciated titles. We'll use the hashtag #MBTH to get the discussion started.

PS - I have two more #dystopianfeb posts coming up - so look for those!