Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Best of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

As November comes to a close, it’s time for us to take a look back at the best of our Book of the Month feature on Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi:

Stream of Consciousness Writing Contest

For this months writing contest, we asked you to try your hand at the stream of consciousness writing style. One winner will get a copy of Shatter Me! See complete rules & details before entering … you have until midnight (PT) tonight!

Shatter Me Gets Educational

We show you lots of ways to incorporate this hot new YA into the classroom. Our ideas work whether you’re a student looking for ideas, or teachers wanting to freshen up your lesson plans!

Beyond the Book

Go beyond the text with inside peeks at the book, character profiles, and some desktop wallpapers!

More with Author Tahereh Mafi

We ask Tahereh Mafi the probing questions, the serious questions, and the ridiculously silly questions! Lucky for us, she answers them all!

For the comments: What were your favorite parts of this month’s features?

Enter to win The Eleventh Plague, Under Dogs, and iBoy

Today, we are excited to feature three recently released YA titles from Scholastic, that will appeal to all readers — but especially to those picky guys. So if you are a guy, or if you know one in your life, check out more about these books & see your chance to win a copy of all three!

The Contest

Tell us your favorite “boy-centric” YA book to be entered in our drawing. Simply submit your response on the Novel Novice + This Is Teen Contest Entry Form for your chance to win!

The Prizes

One (1) winner will receive copies of iBoy, The Eleventh Plague, and Under Dogs:

The Rules

  • One entry per person
  • U.S. only
  • Use the entry form

The Deadline

All entries are due by midnight (PT) on Tuesday, December 6th.

More Information:

These are some great books! Learn more by visiting This is Teen on Facebook, and read below:

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

“The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home…An excellent, taut debut novel.” – Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank on the town bully’s family that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.

Underdogs by Markus Zusak

Before The Book Thief, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of novels about the Wolfe brothers: The Underdogs, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more motivated older siblings. They’re intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben’s girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point.

iBoy by Kevin Brooks

Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. But a head-on collision with high technology has turned him into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. And they’re having an extraordinary effect on his every thought. Because now Tom knows, sees, and can do more than any normal boy ever could. But with his new powers comes a choice: Seek revenge on the vicious gangs who rule the South London housing project where he lives, and who violated his friend Lucy? Or keep quiet and move on? Not even the search engine in his head can predict the shocking outcome of iBoy’s actions. A wifi, thriller by YA master Kevin Brooks.

New YA Book Releases: November 29, 2011

Here’s a look at some of today’s new YA releases:

Untraceable by S.R. Johannes

16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

For the comments: Will you be picking up either of these new releases?

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: The X-Men Factor

Today’s post is a bit spoiler-y, so if you haven’t read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi yet, turn away now. If you HAVE read it, keep reading beyond the jump for some fun superhero comparisons!

Continue reading

Book Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Victorian London has never been so sexy as within the pages of Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince, the second book in her stunning trilogy of prequels to The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices.

Whether you are Team Will, Team Jem, or — like me — Team Undecided, there is plenty to tantalize you within the pages of Clockwork Prince. In truth, the tangled relationships between Tessa, Will, and Jem is a large part of the story — interwoven heavily into the larger plot of what’s going on with the Clave, Mortmain, and the automatons. And true to form, Cassie does not go easy on her characters. She throws in twists and turns that will give the reader some gut-renching, heartbreaking moments right up to the very last page.

What’s really so brilliant about Clockwork Prince is how Clare moves us forward from Clockwork Angel, reveals new details, yet continues to tease us towards even more in Clockwork Princess. Never once does Clockwork Prince fall victim to “middle book syndrome” — it stands elegantly and perfectly on its own. It is packed with plot, character development, and intrigue.

Honestly, this might be Clare’s best book to date. I truly believe she has outdone herself, creating something that fits within the arc of her Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices universe, while standing out as a real work of art and fine craftsmanship. Everything about this book is stunning: the writing, the plot twists, the character development. What’s more, Clare’s signature witty, sarcastic humor flows throughout the entire book, breaking up the drama and tension in just the right way. I couldn’t put this book down, and now that I have, I just want to pick it back up and linger over every moment.

Clockwork Prince is in stores December 6th. Here is the official synopsis:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: Essay and project ideas

Intrigued by the world of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me? Here are some ways to explore the themes further:


  • Earlier this month we discussed George Orwell’s 1984. Read it and compare it to Shatter Me. Pick one or two elements to compare and contrast.
  • We also discussed a writing technique called stream-of-consciousness, which is used in Shatter Me, as well as a number of classic books (some are listed here). Write an essay discussing the technique’s advantages and disadvantages.
  • In Shatter Me, the Reestablishment condones book burning as a way to “cleanse” society. This has happened many times throughout history. Research the history of book burning, pick one episode and discuss the reasoning behind the burnings.
  • Adam and Warner are literary foils. Research the concept and write an essay backing up this claim. What is the purpose? Is Mafi successful in creating foils? How does it affect the reader?


  • Keep a journal in the stream-of-consciousness style or rewrite old entries in this style. Compare and contrast them. Which conveys your feelings better?
  • Make a timeline of book burnings throughout history. What do they have in common? How are they different? Are there any patterns?
  • [Spoiler ahead] Omega Point studies people with “superpowers.” There are real organizations around the world that also study people with special abilities. Do a little digging to find out about them. How far-fetched is Omega? Is it really fiction, or are there places and people with seemingly superhuman talents?
  • Taking the last project further, how could those people’s abilities be used in the real world? Would they be in danger of being exploited by governments and groups?

What other essays topics and projects can you think of for Shatter Me?

New releases provide a sales bump for established titles

Wow, another mild week on the children’s best-seller lists. Ally Condie’s Matched is still doing well in its second week; Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why is back at no. 1 on the paperback list (possibly a bump from this week’s release of The Future of Us); and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series is at no. 9 on the series list, possibly because he just announced a prequel called The Kill Order, set for release in August 2012.

This Week Children’s Chapter Books Weeks on List
1 THE SON OF NEPTUNE, by Rick Riordan. (Hyperion, $19.99.) The cast of characters expands; Book 2 of the Heroes of Olympus. (Ages 9 to 12) 6
2 EVERY THING ON IT, by Shel Silverstein. (Harper/HarperCollins, $19.99.) Poems and drawings by the author of “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” (Ages 9 to 12) 8
3 CROSSED, by Ally Condie. (Dutton, $17.99.) In this sequel to “Matched,” Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky. (Ages 14 and up) 2
4 THE LEGO IDEAS BOOK, by Daniel Lipkowitz. (DK, $24.99.) Tips for taking the brick projects you have and making something new. (Ages 7 and up) 2
5 THE LOST HERO, by Rick Riordan. (Disney-Hyperion, $18.99.) A return to Camp Half-Blood and semi-divine characters. (Ages 10 and up) 54
6 THE OUTCASTS, by John Flanagan. (Philomel, $18.99.) New personae in the companion to the Ranger’s Apprentice series. (Ages 10 and up) 2
7 MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, by Ransom Riggs. (Quirk Books, $17.99.) An island, an abandoned orphanage and a collection of curious photographs. (Ages 12 and up) 23
8 LEGO STAR WARS CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA, by Hannah Dolan and others. (DK, $18.99.) More than 300 minifigures. (Ages 7 and up) 7
9 DARTH PAPER STRIKES BACK: AN ORIGAMI YODA BOOK, by Tom Angleberger. (Amulet, $12.95.) Origami Yoda to the rescue. (Ages 8 to 12) 12
10 WONDERSTRUCK, by Brian Selznick. (Scholastic, $29.99.) In alternating stories told in words and pictures, children look for loved ones. (Ages 9 to 12) 9

The Saturday Post: New Books, Movie Adaptations & More

* Author James Dashner made a surprise announcement this week: there will be a 4th book in The Maze Runner series. The Kill Order will be released on August 14, 2012.

* Maggie Stiefvater confirmed via Twitter that she is writing the third book in her faerie series, Requiem.

* Author Myra McEntire has blogged about the movie deal for her book Hourglass, and has some of the kindest things to say about Novel Novice and other bloggers.

* Casting for the movie adaptation of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl has begun!

* Author Kim Harrington has unveiled all three covers for her upcoming Middle Grade series, Sleuth or Dare:

* Now that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 has hit theaters, we’re finally seeing pictures of Bella in her wedding gown:

See more at the Twilight Examiner

* Check out one of our favorite Middle Grade books, Juniper Berry, featured in this Best Buy/Kindle commercial:

For the comments: Any other news we missed this week? Share it in the comments below!

Holiday Shopping Guide 2011: Middle Grade

Today we conclude our 2011 Holiday Shopping Guide with the best of Middle Grade. Not only are these books perfect for MG readers, but teens and adults will probably enjoy, them too! Be sure to check out last year’s shopping guide for even more ideas!

Middle Grade:

Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Wildwood by Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

It’s Raining Cupcakes & Sprinkles & Secrets by Lisa Schroeder

The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Floors by Patrick Carman

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky


The Familiars & Secrets of the Crown by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson

Mr. Benedict’s Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums: A Mysterious Benedict Society companion book

For the comments: What other books would you recommend for Middle Grade readers?

Exclusive Q&A with Shatter Me author Tahereh Mafi: Part 4

Here it is! The final part of our exclusive Q&A with Shatter Me author Tahereh Mafi, in which she answers our flash questions! Thanks again for playing along, Tahereh …

If they made a Tahereh Mafi candle, what would it smell like?

The inside of an Anthropologie store.

Favorite cartoon?

The Simpsons.

Chocolate or vanilla?


Your personal theme song?

Oh I have no idea. Probably something really awful from the 90s. Or maybe a Celine Dion song. The kinds of songs that come on the radio late at night when you’re driving home.

You’re on a deserted island and have to read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

This is such a painful question to answer; there are so many different types of books to choose from and I’m not sure what would entertain me most on a deserted island. Maybe one of those regency romance novels loaded with pirates.

Favorite book as a child?

Anything by Judy Blume.

Secret talent?

Ummm… I don’t know that this is a talent, but I used to break dance. Not many people know that.