Ponti, James. Blue Moon (Dead City #2)
1 October 2013, Aladdin
Copy provided by the publisher.
Molly and her team have been suspended following Molly's adventures in Dead City, but they are still prepared to investigate when a zombie is found dead, handcuffed to a subway car that has gone far enough away from the Manhattan schist to finally kill him. After Dr. Hildago's investigation into the George Washington bridge incident that lead to the apparent death of the leader of the Unlucky 13, Marek Blackwell, the team is assigned to help with the Baker's Dozen Project. The Unlucky 13 have been around for a long time, living under assumed identities, and the group uses their skills to locate many of them, but not Milton, whose explosion resulted in the deaths and subsequent zombification. With the help of Liberty, a high functioning member of the Undead, as well as Molly's mother, Molly and her team discover a sinister block to turn a million New Yorkers into zombies on New Year's Eve, but after finally locating Milton, they realize that the plot is even more sinister than they first imagined.
Strengths: This was a very intriguing mystery, and the detective work by the kids was great. I loved the office they had in the "attic" of the Flatiron Building, complete with typewriter! The glimpses into Molly's family life make the zombies seem even more threatening, her unresolved issues with her mother are surprisingly touching, and the mythology of the zombies is fantastic and believable. A strong sense of place, New York City, as well as local mythology, adds a lot to this as well. The first book has circulated briskly, so I'm excited to have this sequel as well as, I suspect, another one eventually. I enjoyed some of the writing, especially lines like this "Apparently, my grandmother was under the impression that I was still four years old. Of course, I could have straightened this out by telling her that the reason I was wearing a little makeup was because I was trying to hire the cuts and bruises I'd gotten during hand-tohand combat with a couple of killer zombies in what appeared to be an abandoned top-secret bunker underneath Grand Central Station. But that probably would've ruined the flow of Thanksgiving dinner conversation." (pages 198-199)
Weaknesses: Not enough zombie gore and violence. I know, I know; not something I normally look for, but if you have a book with zombies, you have to have some of them go down in spectacular ways. Perhaps in the next book there will be an epic zombie battle, complete with flame throwers.
Yolen, Jane and Stemple, Heidi E. Y. Bad Girls
February 1st 2013, Charlesbridge Publishing
Infamous women from history: are they bad, or just not adhering to the social mores of their times? This is the question that Jane Yolen and her daughter ask about a variety of women through history. Some are well known (Cleopatra, Typhoid Mary) and some are rather obscure (Popova?), but all get a nice short treatment and interesting illustrations. I think that students interested in graphic novel treatments of nonfiction will be drawn to this, but I think they will be disappointed that the interior graphics are devoted mainly to discussions between the two writers about whether the women were bad or misunderstood. The comic strip format covers Yolen and Stemple as they shop for shoes, go to a spa, go to a conference and book store, etc. That part was really odd, and I didn't care much for it. While I like the idea of discussing whether or not the women covered were really bad, it could have been done in a more effective way.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts
and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday at Booktalking.