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Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Vera Dietz lost her best friend Charlie-- so why is he appearing to her at all the wrong times? What ensues is a beautiful tale of loss and redemption. While there are touches of romance, and plenty of school drama to go around, the real gem of this narrative was held for me in the burgeoning relationship between Vera and her emotionally distant, yet caring father.

I loved ASK THE PASSENGERS by King, and so I had to read more of her work. And I'm so glad I did. King has nailed the magical realism genre in way that is so authentically teen that it hurts my mind. In a good way. Told with King's signature sense of humor, depth, intelligence and honesty, this novel has affirmed my goal of reading EVERY BOOK A.S. King has ever written. And I hope you do, too. (ages 13+)

--Reviewed by Maggie, Books Inc. Children's Department Director

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Anna grew up with the story that when she came along, her mom wasn't alone anyone. She was her mom's world, her "five-pointed star", but that wasn't enough for her mom. She wasn't enough. Her mom starts dating and along come a string of boyfriends and husbands that flutter in and out of Anna's life. Soon, it's just her alone in the empty house. To fill the loneliness, Anna turns to boys thinking that if she gives boys what they want, they can give her what she needs. Companionship. Company. Affection. This 240 page book is not light, contrary to looks. Sexuality, rape, abortion are some of the issues that show up in the story. However, this book never dissolves into an "issues" book - not once while I was reading the book felt like I was being bashed over the head with a point. Rather, the entire focus of the story is Anna. It's her story. And Anna....I felt for her so much. I just wanted to spirited her away or at least give her a million hugs of affection. The things that she endured and the lack of positive, loving adult presence in her life breaks my heart. But the thing that drives home Anna's story is Scheidt's prose. It's frank, sparse and lyrical. She doesn't hold back in her words, but she's not overly descriptive either. The words are just so. Raw. honest and wonderfully written. --reviewed by Connie of Books Inc. Opera Plaza

Splintered by AG Howard

This is a very gritty, dark, re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland. 17-year-old Alysa is the great great great granddaughter of Alice Liddell—yes the Alice. Ever since Alice told her story to Lewis Carroll, all of the women in Alyssa's family have been cursed with madness. In order to protect herself and save her own mother (who has been in an institution since Alyssa was 5) Alyssa goes down the rabbit hole. Once there, she is faced with the choice between Jeb who has known her since childhood, and the mysterious Morpheus who seems to have known her since before she was born...Reality and fantasyboth have a claim to her but which will Alyssa choose?

This book really resonated with me because the idea of a beautiful world you can escape into would have meant the world to me when I was a teenager. Actually, it still does! And normally love triangles bother me, but these two men literally represented two different parts of her. And what teenager doesn't feel like two people in one? This book inspired me not only to reread both the Alice books (twice), but also to change my Halloween costume and force my partner and my best friends to dress as characters from the books too. --Reviewed by Katherine, of Books Inc. Laurel Village

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Ms. Carriger has been kind enough to grace our shelves with this absolutely topping new series of novels for the entertainment and edification of young ladies and gentlemen of discerning taste. Etiquette & Espionage is set in the same fun-fair universe as the wildly popular Parasol Protectorate series but a quarter century before Alexia Tarabotti's debut in Soulless. We see the same brilliant wit and invention, zany adventure, and excellent attention to detail of Victorian life that has made this charming author a steampunk favorite.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia lives in an alternate Victorian Britain whizzing along with all manner of amazing clockwork gadgetry where the aristocracy and military are dominated by vampires and werewolves respectively. (These supernatural citizens are usually too polite to eat the general populace uninvited but, well-there are misunderstandings) Her despairing mother has
had enough of her tomboyish romps and unladylike love for mathematics and engineering. To her horror the girl is whisked off to the terribly exclusive Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, which overlooks the lonely English moors in a dramatic and very original fashion.

Secret and Peculiar Schools are certainly commonplace to young readers, but this institution has a curriculum as unusual as its lofty location. Along with the classical academic subjects, manners, and poise, the young ladies of Mme. Geraldine's are studying to become intelligencers-spies! They will learn all the social graces to gossip, flatter, connive, and seduce information from hapless targets. When that objective is achieved the girls may be required to use unarmed combat, knives, or poison and really "finish" the job. Intrigued, Sophronia applies herself to the demanding coursework despite having the Worst Curtsy in the Empire. She even learns to enjoy the formerly forbidding feminine disciplines of High Fashion, the Coy Smile, and the devastating Batted Eyelashes.

She will make a diverse circle of friends (even cute working-class boys!). With every chapter we meet the highly eccentric staff, Mean Girls, young mad scientists in training, dangerous aerial pirates called flywaymen, and and elite clique of steamgoths, "The Pistons" (more cute boys). Of course Sophronia and the gang will have to solve a big-time mystery without getting demerits. This first book of the new trilogy mostly concerns exploring the school and the wider crazy world around it. The reader will be satisfied and thoroughly entertained while looking forward to the laughs and increasing intrigue ahead. --reviewed by Chris from Compass Books SFO

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

I'll never forget what book got me hooked on reading. Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, was one of thrills and adventure. I realized at a young age that I adored books where the main character was just trying to survive, but was left with nothing or no one. I suppose it was easy to put myself in the place of that character and wonder to myself how would I survive if put in that same place. Ashfall is one of those books! What would you do if a supervolcano erupted and you had no warning and no one to help you figure out what to do? You had no preparations, no family near you, no clean water, and people known as 'flencers' were trying to hunt you down and eat you?! Mullin makes it easy to put you in this person's place, and it's honestly terrifying. I truly loved the twist and turns this book took, and am just engrossed in the second installment. I highly recommend to those who looking for a thrilling story with just a tad of romance and plenty of moments that will have your heart racing. --Reviewed by Courtney, of Books Inc. Burlingame


People are always asking us what book we are reading for Not Your Mother's Book Club, which is a TOTALLY REASONABLE question, considering we're called Not Your Mother's Book CLUB. But the truth of the matter is, for the last 5 years, this has been an author salon, only. NOT SO ANYMORE! Thanks to Anna, the newest member of our Books Inc. Palo Alto team, we are now launching Not Your Mother's ACTUAL Book Club, a book club that reads books! HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND! So join us for our first meeting, no reading required. Yet. :)