Saturday, August 30, 2008

Enchanting Review: Dream Girl

Paranormal YA
Delacorte Press
ISBN# 978-0-385-73521-6
320 Pages
Hardcover-Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Claire Voyante has always had strange dreams since she was little, but when her fifteenth birthday arrives and her grandmother Kiki gives her a beautiful onyx and ivory cameo, suddenly her dreams seem amplified-and black and white. Is it a coincidence, or something more?

It’s bad enough that high test scores have pulled her away from the only school she’s ever really loved and sent her to Hudson High, a place for the gifted. While her parents may be thrilled, Claire is anything but. Now she has to make new friends and deal with her former friend, Sheila, who’s part of the BDLs-best dressed list. And Sheila will do anything it seems to make sure Claire’s life is miserable, including spread an old picture of Claire in costume to the entire high school. But then Claire meets fellow outcast Becca, and the two of them strike up a friendship,

It took me awhile to get into DREAM GIRL. While Claire was likable from the start, the pace was pretty slow for a good portion of the start of the book as things got established, her kooky parents, her brother (who seemed older than his age). Once Claire met Becca and the two girls started hanging out, that’s when I think the story really began. What I liked most about this book were the characters. Claire, her grandmother Kiki, Becca and her family, all were really well done. I loved how Claire escaped the chaos that sometimes was her home life and went to visit Kiki at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. I loved how Claire, once she realized what her gift was, wanted to help protect her new friend, Becca. It was interesting to see how Claire’s dreams evolved and how she was able to piece things together to out who was after her new best friend.

Lauren Mechling is the coauthor of all three 10th-Grade Social Climber books. She has written for the New York Times, Jane and Seventeen. She lives and writes in New York City. Visit her newly revamped website at

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008

Enchanting Review: Courage In Patience

YA contemporary
347 pages
Available now

4.5 Enchantments

After six years of abuse from her stepfather, Ashley Asher finally has the courage to tell her mother. Instead of supporting her, she accuses Ashley of lying. Ashley ends up confiding in a teacher, who calls Ashley’s birthfather David, who had abandoned her as a baby.

David is no longer the angry person of the past. He’s ashamed of abandoning Ashley and vows to make it up to her. No longer will anyone hurt her.

Ashley finds herself in a family where for the first time she doesn’t have to live in fear. But the journey to healing is rocky.

Her stepmother teaches a summer English class using Chris Crutcher’s book Ironman. This brings to head other emotions in the small town of Patience, Texas. Emotions that deal with racism, bullying, intolerance, and fear.

Will Ashley be strong enough to face her demons and realize that she is a person worthy of love? Will she and the others in her stepmother’s class be able to use Bo Brester’s examples from Ironman to gain strength to confront their own struggles?

I really enjoyed this edgy story that shows not only the ugliness of abuse but the process of healing and forgiveness. Fehlbaum does a great job of showing the conflict and struggle that Ashley goes through when dealing with not only the abuse but the reactions from those around her. But one thing that really sticks out on this book is the message of hope to those who’ve also been abused. Readers will cheer Ashley on as she grows and confronts those who have betrayed her.

This is a must read book especially for those who like books that deal in a realistic way with a sensitive subject matter.

Beth Fehlbaum drew on her experience working with abused children as an English teacher while writing Courage in Patience. She is an English teacher with a M.Ed. and lives in East Texas. Check out more on her website at

Enchanting Review: 13

Contemporary Young Adult
Laura Geringer Books
ISBN# 978-0-06-078749-3
201 pages
Trade – Available July 2008

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Twelve-year old Evan Goldman lives with his parents in Manhattan until his father leaves the family for another woman. His mother needs a change of scenery after the divorce, so they move to Appleton, Indiana in the middle of summer.

As Evan moves and gets adjusted, he meets a girl named Patrice who he really relates to. But when school starts, he is befriended by Brett, Fudge, Eddie, Lucy and Kendra. These are the cool kids. Patrice and Archie (another friend) are considered geeks. The cool kids and the geeks do not mix because of their personality differences. Evan has to figure out which group contains his real friends, who will attend his Bar Mitzvah, a discovery he makes after a bunch of strange and really humorous events.

This story is about a young Jewish boy entering puberty and becoming a man, and moving to a new state and adapting to a new life. It contains many universal themes – friendship, popularity, being true to yourself – to name a few.

I thought this was a great book! In fact, I read it in one sitting. It felt very authentic; the situations that Evan gets into are exactly the same situations a preteen would encounter. His reactions were typical, but presented in a way that was funny and made me want to keep reading. When Evan was a jerk to his friends to get in with the ‘cool’ kids, I liked the fact that he humbled himself and made everything right with his true friends when he realized his mistake. This is a great book that most preteens would love. I loved it and would definitely recommend it to readers my age.

These are two authors I would read again. They love to hear from their readers. They can be reached through their respective websites at or

August 2008

Enchanting Review: Chosen

Paranormal YA
St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN# 978-0-312-36030-6
307 Pages
Trade—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

The third book in the House of Night series, CHOSEN picks up shortly after ‘Betrayed’. Dealing with the secrets she has to hide from her friends, knowing that any knowledge of Stevie Ray’s condition could put them, not too mentions Stevie Ray, in jeopardy, Zoey decides the safest thing for all involved is to keep the secret to herself…and Aphrodite. But that’s not the only thing she has to deal with. Heath is still desperate to maintain their relationship, Erik is her vampyre boyfriend and Poet Laureat Lorne Blake is making her contemplate having three boyfriends at once.

My biggest issue with CHOSEN was it felt like there was a good portion of the book that was a rehash of back story and that had me skimming sections to get past what I already knew. However, there are more than enough unexpected twists and jaw dropping turns that kept me glued to the story. The conflict between Neferet and Zoey deepens, almost hitting a crescendo with a startling discovery of just what exactly the high priestess is willing to do to destroy Zoey. Aphrodite becomes a frenemy of sorts to Zoey, something the group just can’t understand with their limited knowledge of what is actually going on.

I love the dynamic between Zoey and Aphrodite, the friendship that seems to be forming between them or at least a very unlikely alliance. Now that Aphrodite is on Neferet’s bad side, the two girls have some common ground, including the fact that they’re the only two at the House of Night whose minds she can’t read.

Look for UNTAMED, the fourth book in this great series to release September 2008.

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Enchanting Review: Cruel Summer

Contemporary Young Adult
St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN# 978-0-312-35511-1
229 Pages
Trade-Available Now

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Colby Cavendish can’t believe her parents have ruined her summer. Sure, they’re getting a divorce and don’t want her to be in the middle of it, but that doesn’t mean they needed to ship her all the way to Greece-and her crazy aunt Tally, ruining her summer in the process.

First, Colby hates being sent away and is desperate to escape the boredom that is her new home on the tiny island of Tinos. Crazy Aunt Tally may not be so crazy, but she’s still not who Colby would want as an ideal roommate. Then there’s the island itself, small, full of routine and not so much to do. There’s one coffee place with internet that Colby adopts as her home away from home, but Petros, the owner keeps telling her to get out there and get some sun, and is only to glad to kick her out one day when the electricity goes out. Colby’s all set to spend the summer miserable, up until she meets Yannis, the cute local guy she first bumped into on the small boat on the way to the island and maybe things start to look up after all.

I have to admit there were times when I really wasn't fond of Colby. Even after meeting Yannis, she still keeps emailing her supposed 'friends' back home in Los Angeles who haven't yet emailed once back, asking about Levi, the guy she left behind. And when her 'friend' makes a couple rude comments about Yannis' picture on her blog, Colby finds herself looking at him in a whole new light, which ruins the romantic evening he had planned. Even the twist of the 'anonymous' commenter on her blog wasn't so hard to figure out.

CRUEL SUMMER had its high points, but they didn't outnumber the lows for me. While Colby did finally mature in the end and I loved how she began to embrace her life in Greece after she started hanging around with Yannis, she spent a lot of the book being too wishy washy for my tastes.

Alyson Noel is the author of Saving Zoe and Art Geeks and Prom Queens. She lives in Laguna Beach, California where she is working on her next book. Visit her on the Web at

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008