Saturday, October 8, 2011

Adult YA Crossover

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
Ecco, HarperCollins,

This "novel in pictures" combines text with vintage photographs, advertisements, articles, and illustrations. It's a fun format, likely to appeal to those nostalgic for their own college days as well as current students at womens' colleges. Romance, fashion, and hints of more newsworthy history fill the pages of this colorful "grown-up" journal.

The year is 1920, the place New Hampshire, and Frankie Pratt is voted "Smartest Girl" of her senior class and offered a scholarship to Vassar. As a poor girl constantly observing those of money and influence, Frankie experiences her share of difficulties. However, her determination always comes through, bringing her to Greenwich Village and Paris on her journey to become an author and find love.

For those of us accustomed to selling children's books, an illustrated journal book is nothing new. However, Preston has created something for adults and teens while putting a new twist on the journal-book by collaging rather than drawing her imagery. A fun and fast read, The Scrapbook of Frankie Preston is an enjoyable romp through the flapper age.

Friday, October 7, 2011

If you like Megan Whalen Turner...

The False Prince
By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Scholastic, April 2012

I've seen many books with blurbs comparing them to Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series, but none ever seem to come close to the mark. But finally, I have found it, a book that contains the slyness, mystery, cunning characters, and ingenious plot that makes me think of Turner's work: Jennifer A. Nielsen's The False Prince.

Sage is an orphan and a thief collected, along with three other boys, to be trained to impersonate a dead prince. Taught swordsmanship, writing, reading, history, and manners, the orphans strive to learn a decades worth of princely arts in mere weeks, all under the guidance of Connor, a nobleman intent to stop civil war. Sage has no desire to commit treason, but whichever boys do not learn to act as Prince Jaron will be killed. The other boys quickly create their own plans, each trying to best the others, and each trying to knife the others in the back. But it seems that Sage, too, has something up his sleeve, something no one has even considered. Layers of schemes, deceit, and treachery abound in this quick-paced novel of intrigue and danger. Luckily, Nielson has promised sequels, though they won't come soon enough!