NYMBC's blog

I know it’s only March, but I can already tell that Panic is going to be one of the best books I’ll read all year. Upon starting it, I didn’t stop, not once, and I read through all the way to the end in just one day. I’ve been a long time fan of Lauren Oliver and when I found out about Panic I had to keep myself from screaming inappropriately in the faces of everyone around me. Panic is intense, mysterious, and psychologically thrilling. On more than one occasion I found my hands pressed up against my face and my jaw dropped in shock. This is a book that will keep you guessing and sweating until the very last page. Panic may be her newest, but it’s also Oliver’s best book so far. 

The game of Panic is simple: compete in every challenge, do the best, and win the prize. The prize is always money and this year it’s over $60,000. It seems easy enough, but not every one has the courage to play. The challenges are difficult, sometimes even deadly. How far would you go to win? You’ll never believe what these kids will do for money.

Recently dumped Heather is insecure and emotionally damaged due to her troubled home life and Dodge is the unpopular kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Told in duel points of view between these two teens, Panic tells the story of not just the kids competing, but the small town as a whole. Oliver’s writing style makes it easy to discern Heather’s voice from Dodge’s and the authenticity of their emotions and motives creates a realistic experience for the reader. I found myself immersed in this small town, rooting for Heather and Dodge, but unsure about who I truly wanted to win the game.

Panic is a book that you’ll remember long after you’ve finished. It’s brilliant, terrifying, and heartbreaking. Not since The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin have I read a book so psychologically mind-bending, and I truly think Lauren Oliver has found her new calling. This is a book you don’t want to miss! -- Anna at Books Inc. Palo Alto 

Harbinger "Harry" Robert Francis Jones was tied up to a tree, which was then hit by lightning. And he bears the scars of that horrific event into his teen years, which forces him into solitude. But when he gets older, he meets Johnny, his becomes best friend. Soon, they start a punk rock band called The Scar Boys and craziness ensues. This book revolves around their dysfunctional, and at times toxic, relationship. Johnny is a persuasive, self-important, narcissistic jerk but Harry literally doesn't have any better options. He just goes along with whatever Johnny wants, even after Johnny pursues a relationship with the girl Harry falls in love with. Full of great rock music and complicated characters, this book is a quick read for anyone who loves music and it's power.

--Reviewed by Ren, Compass Books in SFO

Told in a series of letters (really one long letter divided into chapters), and objects, in a box to Ed. Min tells the story of her first real love and heartbreak. There are many firsts woven throughout- including the ultimate “first time.” As Min and Ed grow closer, the differences between them start to tear them apart. Overall an enjoyable novel with a unique style of storytelling! This is something I can appreciate as a writer. Ages 15 and up. --Reviewed by Renee from Books Inc. Market Street
In alternate steampunk Victorian England, Irene Adler hires the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the half-sister of Bram Stoker to solve a mystery surrounding the recent suicides of London’s eligible society girls. This all probably sounds awesome, largely because it is. The content is handled so fluidly and Gleason offers a fresh voice to young fans of mystery and detective stories. Miss Holmes and Miss Stoker, respectively an insufferable know-it-all and a dark action girl with a suicidal streak, balance each other perfectly. This is another example of really good world building and writing, but the heroines and their relationship shines. --Reviewed by Marie at Books Inc. Chestnut Street

This was our book club read for November and we thoroughly enjoyed it! This is a fantastic debut from Terrill and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to come up with next. Em has been imprisoned at a secret military base for what feels like years. She’s constantly tortured for information by a man called, the doctor (yes I really did love the slight Doctor Who reference, even if it was unintentional!). All Em has to keep her going is the voice of a mysterious boy in the cell next to her, until one day she finds a slip of paper taped inside the drain of her cell. The slip of paper contains the instructions Em will need in order to escape. This fast-paced science fiction thriller is great for fans of, well, science fiction! I know it’s a slim genre in YA, but I really liked the time travel elements in this one! It’s a quick read with an unbelievable ending!--Reviewed by Anna, Books Inc. Palo Alto

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