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YA Mysteries!

Michelle Knudsen - Evil Librarian

Amber Recommends:

Summary: Annie has fallen for the new school librarian. The head over heels kind of love, the problem is the librarian seems to be encouraging these feelings. Which obviously is completely inappropriate no matter how hot he is! Cynthia Rothschild (Annie’s best friend and nicknamed Cyn) finds the entire situation creepy, she tries to tell Annie it is a really bad idea to pursue a teacher but Annie is beyond listening. She is completely under his spell.

Literally.

Review: In many ways this book reminds me of the early episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (TV show with Sarah Michelle Gellar not the movie with Luke Perry). Similar to Buffy, Cyn has to figure out pretty quick how to juggle friendship, school (both homework & the musical), home life and demon slaying activities without letting a ball hit the ground. In addition Cyn has a best friend who isn’t as happy with her life and her role as a “good girl” as she seems to be. Who subsequently allows herself to be blinded by the promises and glamours of the demon librarian. Then there Cyn’s crush who may or may not know of her existence and who may or may not want Cyn to fight the demon in their midsts. The pièce de résistance which suggests Buffy to me is the central location of our baddie - the library. Which provided the major research and rally point for Buffy & the gang all through their high school career (man how I loathed that phrase while in high school, it makes sense now…..does that mean I am growing up? Things to ponder…) In the Evil Librarian the location flips allegiances and as the title indicates is the nexus of the evil propagating its way through the student body.

What distinguishes this book from Buffy is Cyn’s love of musical theater and her management of her high school’s production of Sweeney Todd. I cannot tell you exactly how the author has woven this musical into the narrative - spoilers you know. What I can say is this musical provides the perfect accent for this story allowing the book to become something special. A piece of advice…you do need to be at least passingly familiar with Sweeney Todd in order to get the absolute most out of this book - my suggestion rent the Johnny Depp version from a few years back (seeing a live performance would be the best, but in a pinch the movie will do!).

The fact that this book reminded me of Buffy is a good thing! While the elements of the slayer were present (for me at least), the author did a great job of making this story her own. Which is why I enjoyed reading it and look forward to the sequel. My one critique is I think it was a hair heavy handed when dealing with Cyn’s school crush (or perhaps reading the angst over said crush hit to close to home in my memories from high school), but this is a seriously minor item which clears itself up by the end of the book. Other than the one small flaw this book was fun to read and would be perfect for any girl who loves musicals, kicking butt and/or demon hunting!

I would place this book at around the 12 - 15 reader age range.

Brandon Sanderson – Firefight

Amber Recommends:

Newcago is now free, but it is far from peril. The vacuum of power left after Steelheart’s death means other epics are testing the Reckoners and trying to fill the void. Interetingly they are all being sent by another High Epic from Babylon Restored (New York) - so David, Tia, and the Proffessor head out there to figure out why and a way to stop her.

This sequel is a fast and furious read, filled with some astonishingly bad metaphors, but the substance of the story is much more twisty and dark than you might expect, which makes it fantastic. David, a/k/a Steelslayer, is not only helping to find and contain Epics, but he has a theory about what makes them work. And if he’s right, it could change the fate of all Epics!

This is a great follow up to Steelheart! And this is a series that you MUST read in order!

Fran heartily concurs, and encourages you to read both. Now.