If everyone’s dreams are overrun by nightmares, how will anyone ever sleep again?  What if there was an evil force feeding on the negative energy in those nightmares, gaining power with every dream, preparing to take over the world?  Would anyone be able to stop the horror unfolding every night in every bed? For eleven year old Zac Wonder, all he knows is that he’s been having some realistic, recurring nightmares.  The London newspapers are full of reports of sleep-deprived people doing some harrowing things as a plague of nightmares seems to be sweeping the nation.  But even more strange than this night-time horror, Zac’sRead More →

In Sangu Mandanna‘s The Lost Girl, Eva is a fifteen year old girl living in London who has a life completely different than anyone she knows. She is an echo; a creation made by a group of individuals called the Weavers. She was created to prepare if her ‘other’, Amarra, were to die. Eva would take her place and continue to live Amarra’s life in India with only Amarra’s parents knowing she is an echo and not their true daughter. Eva looks identical to her ‘other’ and has been trained since birth to walk, talk, dress, and act like Amarra. Eva is convinced nothing willRead More →

In the last installment of the action packed Archer Legacy, Gerald Wilkins and his friends Ruby and Sam are finally going to be able to put the danger posted by the ruthless Mason Green behind them and get on with their normal (well, normal for a billionaire) lives.  But just as  Mason Green’s murder trial is getting under way, Mason is mysteriously killed and Gerald is framed for his murder.  Now, Gerald is left with only one choice – to run – and his faithful friends join him in the quest to clear his name.  Their journey takes them from London to France, then toRead More →

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard holds true to the title. Eleanor Fitt is the young protagonist living in 1800’s Philadelphia dealing with the usual problems of a young woman including fitting into a corset, being married off by her mother, and escaping zombies?! That’s right! When Elijah (Eleanor’s brother) does not get off his train in Philadelphia, Eleanor and her mother begin to worry. To make it worse, a zombie has hand delivered a note to Eleanor written by Elijah telling her not to worry and he will be home when he can. Philadelphia is being over run by zombies and Eleanor hasRead More →

Set on an island near both Thailandand Cambodiain 1974 during the Vietnam War, Lost Girls by Ann Kelley is Lord of the Flies on estrogen.  Although Kelley borrows heavily from William Golding’s tale—down to wild boars and broken glasses—she doesn’t perform the rich psychological study of her predecessor.  Still, in fourteen-year-old protagonist Bonnie MacDonald, readers note traits of both Piggy and Ralph, and in Hope, we see a blending of Piggy and Simon.  The twenty-something redhead Layla Campbell and her cohorts, the Glossies, reflect Jack and his minions. Bonnie’s family is from Scotland, transplanted in southeast Asia by the war.  Members of the Amelia EarhartRead More →

Everyone knows the story of the Three Wise Men who followed the Star and found the Baby Jesus lying in his manger in Bethlehem.  But what if I told you that the “wise men” were nothing more than escaped convicted criminals who had stolen their priestly robes from unsuspecting victims and while fleeing Herod’s army, stumbled into a stable in Bethlehem in hopes of ditching their pursuers?  And what if the leader of this gang of thieves and murders was someone both vile and virtuous, bloodthirsty and deeply sentimental, and as bitingly sarcastic as he is sincere?  How did one of the most wanted menRead More →

Making her young adult debut, author Dayna Lorentz’s No Safety In Numbers has everything necessary to be a big hit: great premise, palpable tension, social commentary, a cast of interesting characters, and solid, well crafted writing.  Not to mention the creative marketing Penguin has put into the book already (ARCs came with bottles of hand sanitizer stickered with the bio-hazard graphic from the cover).   Lorentz’s all-too-plausible tale of suburban panic is gripping and unsettling because it’s very easy to see how this plot could become a reality no of us want to face.  Comparisons to Lord of the Flies are right on and theRead More →

Readers who enjoyed King of the Screwups by K.L. Going (Harcourt, 2009) will find a similar theme and characters in Kody Keplinger’s A Midsummer’s Nightmare, which features a female protagonist.  On her first night in Hamilton, Kentucky, recent Indiana high school graduate Whitley Johnson argues fashion choices with fashionista, Harrison Carlyle, who offers to be her best friend, but Whitley doesn’t “do” friends.  In her experience “friends turn on you, abandon you, and lie about you” (61).  Because Whitley sees friends as a waste of time, selfish and fake, she decides she’s better off being a loner, with tequila as a best friend to makeRead More →