Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Bennett, Olivia. Who What Wear.
ARC recieved from Sourcebooks.
Emma has a complicated life. On the one hand, she is an ordinary middle school student who likes to hang out with her best friend Holly, and on the other, she is the famous fashion designer Allegra Biscotti, whose work has been featured on fashion blogs, who is going to have her collection showcased in the Madison Pop-Up Shop, and who has been asked to design a fabulous Sweet 16 dress for Rylan Sinclaire’s big party. In order to make the charade work, she pretends to be an intern for Allegra, and works with Rylan and the difficult Mrs. Sinclaire to put together a dress for the party at the same time she is working feverishly on the Pop-Up Shop collection. When Holly finds out that Emma never told her she was working as an intern, the two have a falling out, and things are not going well with the other projects, either. Is keeping the secret of Allegra worth all the trouble?
Strengths: Lots of fashion detail, complete with small sketches accompanying the text. The friend drama is real, and the Sweet 16 birthday party is something that will interest some of my students.
Weaknesses: Full disclosure: I’m sitting here wearing frayed Mom jeans I got at the thrift store for a dollar and a t shirt my parents brought me back from Alaska in 1996. I do not care about fashion, so it’s hard for me to imagine that a 14-year-old would spend so much time and money on obsessing about clothing. Oddly, though, I’ve had students ask for books just like this. I just had a hard time believing the whole scenario, in the same way I don’t believe that the girls in The Clique series really dress that well.

Jennewein, James and Parker, Tom S. Ship of the Dead. (Rune Warriors #3)
Dane wants Astrid, the love of his life, back from Valhalla, but even when he steals a Valkyrie’s horse and travels there, she refuses to leave because she has sworn an oath to Odin. Dane manages to steal the Book of Fate from the Norns and hopes to use it to secure her release, but the goddess Skuld demands that Dane also kill Thidrek the Terrifying... again. Thidrek is now an undead draugr, and in order to kill him, Dane must hunt down a dwarf to forge the Blade of Oblivion for him. Thidrek is busy on his own quest, trying to obtain the Ship of the Dead for Hel, the queen of the underworld. Of course, Dane and Thidrek meet up when the ship travels into Niflheim and Hel’s army of the dead is released into the world. After alof this, will Dane be able to reclaim Astrid?

Strengths:A lot of Monty Python-esque humor; I could just envision John Cleese as Thidrek. I have picked up all three of these volumes at book looks. Fans of John Flangan’s The Ranger’s Apprentice series who want something a little funnier will enjoy these, as there is a lot of action and adventure.
Weaknesses: I had to take notes in order to follow the plot, and obviously left out a lot of the twists and turns. All I could think was “Really? Astrid is going to leave Valhalla (where her job is apparently welcoming the newly dead warriors) and live in a Viking hut somewhere folding Dane’s socks and cooking things in a pot over an open campfire? Huh.” Average middle school boy will not have these thoughts!

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