ARC Roundup

I have been reading a lot of Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) lately. These books are cheap paperbacks put out by publishers ahead of hardcover publication to try to get some buzz going on! If the book gets favorable press, it helps sales to schools, libraries, and stores. Here is a list of the titles, publication dates, and my opinions about what I've been reading.

Car Trouble by Jeanne DuPrau
On Sale: August 1, 2005
Duff Pringle has a high school diploma, a job lined up on the West Coast, a new used car, money in the bank, and a license to drive. He sets out on the ultimate road trip, driving across the country. But when he breaks down a few hours from home, Duff must make his way on his own. This is a huge departure from DuPrau's earlier fantasy novels, The City of Ember and The People of Sparks. The book is an enjoyable, realistic read, with great characters (including Stu, a bum and some-time thief, and Bonnie, a tough-girl singer). A classic car, thugs, stolen money, and a mystery were not part of Duff's orignial travel plans, but they made this book a road trip to remember.

Chloe Lieberman (Sometimes Wong) by Carrie Rosten
On Sale: September 13, 2005
Chloe Lieberman is half Jewish, half Chinese, and totally enthralled by fashion. She always knows what to wear, and she knows what you should be wearing. It's part of her self-proclaimed "Fashion Disorder." The only problem? She hasn't applied to colleges, like her parents think she did. This book is somewhat predictable, but really funny and totally fashion forward. Love killer clothes? Love unique style?? Pick it up when you need a quick read.

Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper
On Sale: January 4, 2006.
When Emily receives an unexpected birthday gift, a pack of note cards labeled Flashcards of My Life, she uses them for journal writing inspiration to try to untangle her increasingly knotted life. This book perfectly captures the important things in middle school life: boys, friendships, and school (in that order). You will totally relate to Emily's assessments of everything, from comments about her mom's crazy diet plan to diagrams of what happens when your boy friend wants to be your boyfriend. My big problem with this book was that it is all written as a first person journal, yet Emily reveals that she hates journaling in the first few pages of the book! It screamed "PLOT DEVICE"!!! Still, whether you are going to middle school or are already there, you will appreciate the characters in this book.

Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family by Steven R. Schirripa and Charles Fleming
On Sale: September 13, 2005
Rich kid Nicholas Borelli's camp closes down, so he has to spend two weeks at his grandmother's house in Brooklyn and learn how to be a true goomba. This book bored me in the first few chapters. If you have seen any mob movies, or The Sopranos, then you don't need to read this book. If you want to read a teen mob book that actually has a plot, I suggest Gordon Korman's hilarious Son of the Mob and Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle.

Ready or Not by Meg Cabot
On Sale: July 26, 2005
All-American Girl Samantha Madison is back in this sex-obsessed sequel. I really liked the first book (I actually OWN it), but, frankly, this one bored me. It seemed to me that the author was trying too hard to insert pop culture references, and in the process I felt that Sam lost some of the qualities which made me like her in the first place! The best moment in the book is when all the kids in the cafeteria at her exclusive prep school stand up and declare themselves sluts. That's actually a high point in the story. Enough said.

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