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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow

Summary: Growing up is hard enough. Growing up to meet the expectations placed on you by an overbearing mother is almost unbearable. Cara Chow’s Bitter Melon expresses this conflict beautifully with a main character who is both likeable and frustrating, just like any teen girl.

Frances has always worked hard to make her mother proud. She knows how hard her mother works to make sure she can attend a good private school and become a doctor some day. Then they can both lead a better life; the kind of life her mother gave up when she chose to raise her daughter alone in American instead of returning to her homeland of China. But no matter how hard she tries, she always seems to fall short.

At the beginning of her senior year, someone makes a mistake on Frances’ schedule, putting her in speech instead of calculus. Although she knows she should switch, she finds that she is good at public speaking and that it gives her a feeling she hasn’t had before; a confidence in herself. Although she still tried to make her mother proud, she also begins to work more toward her own happiness. But is Frances strong enough to choose her own path, even if it will mean standing up to her mother?

This coming-of-age story mixes in a dose of Asian culture to a universal tale of learning to be your own person.

Growing Up

Age Appropriateness:
13 and up

Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none
Violence: mild

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Summary: The recent trend in young adult fiction, paranormal romance, is one that has, in some ways, become a little overdone. So it was with minimal expectations that I picked up Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Wow, was I ever surprised! Paranormalcy is a gripping multi-layered story and I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the series!

Evie has spent most of her life living in and working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, an unusual example of international cooperation that is held together by one thing: the desire to use Evie and her ability to capture and protect paranormal creatures ranging from vampires and werewolves to mermaids (like her best friend). Evie can see through glamours, so no paranormal creature can hide its true nature from her. She sees vampires as the walking corpses they are, for example. And she’s content to live her life this way.

But something is coming after paranormal creatures and they are dying in a way the IPCA cannot explain. And Evie is having strange dreams filled with a prophecy she doesn’t understand. She fears that her abilities may be linked to the deaths, but how could that be? Is she truly the one in the faerie prophecy; the one who bring destruction to all paranormal creatures?

Add to the mix a faerie ex-boyfriend who can’t let go and a mysterious prisoner who is suspected of being part of the plot against the paranormal community and you have a dangerous and confusing love triangle – what is a girl to choose? And can she save the paranormals and have a romance at the same time?

Fun, full of action, and with a hint of romance! If you like Ally Carter mixed with some werewolves and other creatures of the night, you'll like Paranormalcy.


Age Appropriateness:
13 and up

Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: mild
Nudity/Adult Content: very mild
Violence: moderate