Stained by Cheryl Rainfield – Cover Reveal and Tease


I am so very happy to be able to share with you the new cover and some teases for Cheryl Rainfield’s newest novel Stained. 


Expected publication: October 1st, 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers


About Stained

Seventeen-year-old Sarah Meadows covers the walls of her bedroom with images of beautiful faces she clips from magazines—and longs for “normal.” Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. Why can’t she be like Diamond, the comic-book hero she created? Diamond would never let the insults in. That’s harder for Sarah.

But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had. Can she look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside, somehow becoming a hero rather than a victim? It’s the only way Sarah will have any chance of escaping the prison—both seen and unseen—that this deranged killer has placed around her.



He plans to keep me here. Something snaps in my mind, and I go at the door like I’m crazed, slamming into it with my body, not caring about the way it jars my teeth, my bones, hurts my shoulder. I batter the door, clawing and kicking and screaming until I’m sobbing with exhaustion.

I sink to the floor, trembling and feeling sick. I hurt all over, I have to pee, and I am intensely thirsty.

Don’t let me die here. Please. I never got to say goodbye. Never got to tell Mom I’m sorry, tell Dad how lucky I am to have him for a father. A whimper wrenches its way out of my throat. . . . (p. 70)

Book Trailer


From the Author

Like I did with SCARS and HUNTED, I drew on some of my own experiences of bullying, abuse, and trauma to write STAINED and to give it greater emotional depth. Like Sarah in STAINED, I experienced abduction, imprisonment, periods of forced starvation, mind control, and having my life threatened. And like Sarah, I tried hard to fight against my abuser, keep my own sense of self, and escape. I hope readers will see Sarah’s strength and courage, and appreciate her emotional growth as she reclaims herself.


If you, like me, cannot wait for this book to come out, make sure to preorder it: 

Amazon (hardcover): 

Amazon (kindle):

The Book Depository:


I cannot wait to review the book for you- be looking for it in the fall (and it will include a special giveaway)!


Tommysaurus Rex by Doug TenNapel



Tommysaurus Rex
Author and Illustrator: Doug TenNapel
Published May 28th, 2013 by GRAPHIX

Summary: After Ely’s dog Tommy dies from being hit by a car, Ely’s father allows him to take a trip to visit his grandfather’s farm. His father hopes this trip will help him overcome his grief as well as give him some sense of responsibility. However, everything goes awry when Ely accidentally comes across a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Ely all of a sudden finds him self with a new goal- cleaning up the T-Rex’s mess and proving he is harmless.

My Review: Doug TenNapel is one of the most popular authors in my classroom. All of his graphic novels fly off my shelves and never spend much time back there once they are returned. The biggest draw of his graphic novels are they are so unique, action-packed, funny, smart, colorful, and very well done. Tommysaurus Rex is no different. This story is one that will make so many students want to read it and I know that each reader will be telling a friend about it. Just like his other graphic novels, this one is so much fun!

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I think the best use for this graphic novel is getting it into students’ hands and letting them read it. It will find its home on middle school shelves and will be eaten up by readers. Although, another option would be to use it with book clubs as it would be quite popular, I see it more as a classroom library purchase.

Discussion Questions: Have you ever lost a pet? How can you connect with how Ely was feeling?; Ely had trouble with bullies when he got to his grandfather’s farm. How could he have dealt with them differently? Have you ever been bullied? How did you deal with the situation?

We Flagged: “Come out and play with me. You must be scared… knowing that you’re probably the only one like you in the whole world…Well, Rex, you’re in luck, I’m right here with you.” (p. 41-42)

To see a preview of the graphic novel, visit Amazon to Click to Look Inside.

Read This If You Loved: Bad Island, Ghostopolis, or Cardboard by Doug TenNapel, Mal and Chad (series) by Stephen McCranie, Jellaby (series) by Kean Soo, Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Recommended For: 



North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler



North of Nowhere
Author: Liz Kessler
Publication: August 6th, 2013 by Candlewick Press

Summary: After a frantic call from her grandmother about her grandad vanishing, Mia and her mother go to the seaside village home of her grandparents to help.  Disconnected from everyone and without any clues in the vanishing, Mia finds herself walking on the beach often where she stumbles upon a diary on an abandoned fishing boat. Through the diary, she begins exchanging notes with a girl named Dee, a young girl who lives on a nearby island, who she instantly connects with. It is through these exchanges that Mia begins to notice some weird things and a new mystery opens up right in front of her.

My Review: I really like Mia’s voice. Her voice is so authentic teenager that it was like listening to an 8th grader telling me the story. I think this is key because I think it’ll help readers draw into the story since it is a mystery that slowly unravels. Hearing Mia tell it will mean that it is almost like hearing the story from a friend.  I also thought that the whole idea behind the mystery was quite clever, but I can’t really talk about it because it would give away the ending! So, read and we’ll discuss.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I would love to listen to students discuss this book! Although I figured out the mystery earlier than revealed, but I know that middle school students would be predicting and trying to figure out the mystery the whole book until the reveal. It would keep them on the edge of their seats!

Discussion Questions: Why do you think that Dee’s diary entries and Mia’s observations are not matching up?; What do you think happened to Mia’s grandad?

We Flagged: “I need to write it all down. That’s the only way I’ll believe it’s true. Spring break, eighth grade. All those incredible, impossible things. Did they really happen? I’ve tried a hundred times to tell myself that they couldn’t have. That none of it is possible. And I’m right; none of it is possible. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is true. Everything did happen, exactly as I’m going to tell it now.” (p. 1)

Read This If You Loved: Red Kayak by Patricia Cummings, The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher, Capture the Flag by Kate Messner, Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead, Undercurrents by Willo Davis Roberts

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Candlewick Press for providing a copy for review**

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle



The Infinite Moment of Us
Author: Lauren Myracle
Expected Publication: August 20th, 2013 by Amulet Books (an imprint of ABRAMS books)

Summary: Wren Gray has always been perfect. As high school graduation approaches, she realizes that she doesn’t want to go to Emory, the college she was accepted into (early decision, of course), and she wants to do charity work in Guatemala through a program called Project Unity. Wren hasn’t told her parents this plan, and she knows they will be heart-broken. She has never dated a boy, but when Wren meets Charlie Parker, she wants to know more about him. Charlie is a hard-working student who spends most of his time helping his foster father in their family-owned cabinet shop. With a troubled past, Charlie is battling demons that constantly tell him he isn’t good enough. It isn’t until Wren waves back to him in the parking lot that he has the guts to pursue the girl of his dreams. This is a beautiful story of what happens when two souls collide—it explores love, a powerful force that is much deeper than just two physical bodies interacting with one another.

Review: Told from alternating perspectives, this novel seamlessly transitions between Wren’s and Charlie’s thoughts. As always, Myracle’s work embodies the culture of the environment she writes about. The language and details of the setting took me straight to Atlanta. As I am a Northerner and have never lived outside of Connecticut, I always love getting lost in Myracle’s settings. The characters are wonderfully complex. They have quirks and elements of their personalities that make them feel quite real. As an aside, I also found the names to be interesting. I don’t suspect it is intentional, but Wren Gray is best friends with Tessa. Tessa Gray is the main character in the Clockwork Angel Series. It made me think of many other characters in literature with the last name Gray. Overall, I loved this book. I am still madly in love with Myracle’s Shine, but I like how she can step inside the perceived boxes of many genres, as her focus here was a more romantic novel. The philosophical conversations between Wren and Charlie were my favorite part of The Infinite Moment of Us.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: A warning of sorts—Lauren Myracle begins the novel with a note to readers. She says, “This book has sex in it. It’s not about sex, not exclusively, and I’m more interested in the mingling of Charlie’s and Wren’s souls than in the ways their bodies come together.” The sexual detail is certainly graphic, so I recommend this for mature readers. I have a special signature form for certain books in my classroom, and I find that this often inspires more kids to sign them out. I completely agree with Lauren Myracle after reading this book. It is about the way these two souls come together, and the sex is not a focal point.

Teachers could have students closely analyze the passages of dialogue between Wren and Charlie, where they philosophically debate life (see the sections I flagged below for a start). Additionally, the setting adds richness to this novel, and it would be great for students to analyze how these details add to the story. Many of the characters in this book act and respond in different ways (Wren, Charlie, Starrla, Tessa), and I think students would enjoy investigating the ways Myracle develops each of her characters.

Discussion Questions: What happens when two souls collide?; Is there a such thing as true love?; How does family influence a person’s actions?; Should our significant other be placed in a higher position than our friends and family?; What is home to us? Is it just a place?

We Flagged: “Sometimes the things we hide—aren’t they the parts of us that matter most?” (Chapter 1).

“‘I guess I think the world is more connected than people realize,” […] ‘I think…sometimes…that scientists…some scientists…want to package things up into neat little boxes. Explain, explain, explain, until there aren’t any mysteries left'” (Chapter 7).

“‘I’m just not sure a person’s home is determined by where he or she lives. I think home is more than that'” (Chapter 10).

Please note: The above quotes are from the Advanced Reader Copy. Chapter numbers are included instead of page numbers because the e-reader did not provide page numbers. The quotes may change when the book is published.

Read This If You Loved: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Sarah Dessen’s books, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Recommended For:


I would use a parent signature form for this one due to strong sexual content, but this is a definite must-have in the classroom library.

How much do we love Lauren Myracle? Have you read this one or pre-ordered it?


**Thank you to NetGalley and ABRAMS books for sending me the Advanced Reader Copy for review!**


Real Justice: Convicted for Being Mi’kmaq: The Story of Donald Marshall Jr. by Bill Swan


NF PB 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book). Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


Real Justice: Convicted for being Mi’kmaq: The Story of Donald Marshall Jr.
Author: Bill Swan
Expected Publication: September 1st, 2013 by James Lorimer & Company

Summary: This book is part of the Real Justice series by James Lorimer & Company that shed light on young people who are wrongfully convicted of crimes. Donald Marshall Jr. spent eleven years in prison for a crime he never committed. He was the eldest son of the Grand Chief of the Mi’kmaw Nation, and racism certainly played a role in his conviction. It was a late night in Wentworth Park when Sandy Seale, a black teen, and Donald Marshall Jr. are waved over by two drunk men wanting cigarettes. One of the men stabs Sandy Seale in the side, and Donald Marshall Jr. runs for help. What he doesn’t know is that the police won’t believe his story, and they will do anything they can to convict him of the Seale’s death.

Review: I enjoyed the journalistic format of this book. Swan does an excellent job researching and depicting the facts of the case. He goes into depth when in his description of each witness’s story, and the reader gets a comprehensive background of the crime scene, investigation, and trial. As a Micmac Indian (the American version of this tribe), I was very interested in this story. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed that aside from the comments about racism and a brief note toward the end of the book, there wasn’t much information about the Mi’kmaq Indians. I completely understand this, as the author chose to focus more on the investigation and trial, but I was secretly craving more information about Donald Marshall Jr.’s life background and customs. This text would make for a great nonfiction text to use in the classroom.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I love teaching nonfiction units because there is so much variety. Teachers can offer myriad choices of memoirs and informational nonfiction for students to do research. After reading this story, students might research more about the case (if any other information is available) or they could compare and contrast this case with another example of injustice, particularly one that was impacted by racism. I have a feeling that students, like me, will want to research more about Marshall’s culture or the racial imbalance that existed at the time of the crime. I could also see this being paired with Black and White by Paul Volponi, an example of realistic fiction that also deals with injustice due to racism.

Discussion Questions: Does racism still exist today? In what ways did it impact the crime, investigation, and trial? What injustices did you see?; Do you think Marshall should have been compensated more for his eleven years in jail?; How does Marshall show incredible strength throughout his ordeal?

We Flagged: “‘Know what I think?’ MacIntyre added, as though on cue. ‘I think Marshall’s description of some old guy is a crock. The whole thing likely happened when that Indian, fueled up with fire water, got in an argument with the black kid'” (Chapter 5).

“When the reality hit [Donald Marshall Jr.], he cried the tears of childhood” (Chapter 15).

Please note: The above quotes are from the Advanced Reader Copy. Chapter numbers are included instead of page numbers because the e-reader did not provide page numbers. The quotes may change when the book is published.

Read This If You Loved: Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos, Black and White by Paul Volponi, other books in the Real Justice series, other books about Law and Order

Recommended For:



Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Beginnings/Endings


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

Today’s Topic: Top Ten Book Beginnings/Endings
(Don’t worry! No spoilers!)



1. Wonder– The first page in Wonder is one of my favorite first pages ever.

“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary. I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.

If I found a magic lamp and I could have one wish, I would wish that I had a normal face that no one ever noticed at all. I would wish that I could walk down the street without people seeing me and then doing that look-away thing. Here’s what I think: the only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.

But I’m kind of used to how I look by now. I know how to pretend I don’t see the faces people make. We’ve all gotten pretty good at that sort of thing: me, Mom and Dad, Via. Actually, I take that back: Via’s not so good at it. She can get really annoyed when people do something rude. Like, for instance, one time in the playground some older kids made some noises. I don’t even know what the noises were exactly because I didn’t hear them myself, but Via heard and she just started yelling at the kids. That’s the way she is. I’m not that way.

Via doesn’t see me as ordinary. She says she does, but if I were ordinary, she wouldn’t feel like she needs to protect me as much. And Mom and Dad don’t see me as ordinary, either. They see me as extraordinary. I think the only person in the world who realizes how ordinary I am is me.

My name is August, by the way. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

Don’t you want to read it now?!?! [Ricki says, “YES, Kellee. Now you made me want to RE-READ it!)

2. A Tale Darm and Grimm– This first page always sucks in my students when I read it outloud to them.

“Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.

I know, I know. You don’t believe me. I don’t blame you. A little while ago, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. Little girls in red caps skipping around the forest? Awesome? I don’t think so.

But then I started to read them. The real, Grimm ones. Very few little girls in red caps in those.

Well, there’s one. But she gets eaten.”

Awesome is right!


3. Graceling– The ending of this perfect book is a beautiful allusion to Jane Eyre. I loved it.

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets to the Universe– The power of truly finding your identity is purely captured in this amazing book.

5. The Giver– Ah, one of the most controversial endings ever! I actually loved it because it causes such amazing discussion and even pure anger in its readers. This is my all-time favorite book, and I will always cherish the ambiguity that Lowry ends this novel with. (And if you really want to know what happens, read the companions.)



1. Between Shades of Gray I told myself I was going to do just beginnings or just endings, but I felt like I would be really dropping the ball if I didn’t mention the beginning of this book. Readers are thrown into the action, where the NKVD are pounding on Lina’s door. I love reading this beginning to students because I have fifteen copies of this book, and almost every single copy is signed out by the end of class. Lina’s mother begs and barters for her son’s life. She is successful, and Lina’s words at the end of the chapter are chilling. I know them by heart. “Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”


2. Shine This is the only ending of any book that made me hold my breath. My heart actually stopped for a moment (My brother, who is a physician, would argue with me, I am sure). All I can say is–HOLD ON! (Did you catch that pun—those of you who have read this one?)

3. To Kill a Mockingbird This book almost feels like a story within a story to me. I love how the trial is separate yet connected to everything Scout learns. The final scene provides a lot of closure for readers. Overall, it is the most satisfying ending of any book I’ve read.

4. Of Mice and Men I didn’t want to discuss two classics because there are so many great beginnings and endings in YAL, but this is one of my favorite books to read aloud to students because of the ending. There are two closing scenes (one with Curley’s wife and the other on the last few pages) that make my students audibly gasp. I have those scenes memorized so I can see the looks on their faces as I read them—and it never gets old. The final few pages of this book are great because they really allow readers to ponder the message of the book. My students always have strong opinions about the characters immediately after I read it, but after some discussion and a few differing comments from their peers, many of them change their minds.

5. The Fault in our Stars Ah, what an ending! I love this ending not because of what happens but because of how it is said. Green masterfully weaves the words at the end of this book in a way that sticks with readers forever.


What is your favorite book beginning? Endings? 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/29/13



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.







Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday stardines beers

Award Seal building IMG-20120123-00888

 **Click on any picture above to view the post**

Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: I feel like I have really been struggling with reading this summer. Usually summers are my free time where I find myself taking part in #summerthrowdown and #bookaday, but I have not been reading enough to do either. I think it is because I have A) been writing and researching a lot this summer; B) taught summer reading camp and been doing a lot of professional development; C) just wanted to relax when I finally had free time. The thing is, though, I feel guilty for not reading as much. Guilty only because I have higher expectations for myself. I only have 2 weeks left of summer and I just know I am not going to live up to those expectations now, so I am working on realizing it is okay. Has anyone else felt this way ever?

This week I was able to read a couple of books among my classroom moving (I am officially my school’s reading coach next year, so I had to move from the largest classroom in the school to a room that is half the size of a normal classroom; however, we did it in just 2 days!!) and the Solution Tree PLC Conference:

First, because of all of the driving, I did finish Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (audiobook) by David Sedaris. I loved it like all of his books, but I found that some parts of it were majorly serious and just didn’t affect me as much. I also read two nonfiction picture books that I really enjoyed and will definitely share on a NF PB Wednesday- Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sara C. Levine and Hey Charleston!: The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band. Next I read Doug TenNapel’s newest graphic novel Tommysaurus Rex which will definitely fly off my shelf when the school year begins (and I’ll be reviewing on Friday). Finally, I read a humorous poetry book called I Could Pee On This and Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano which had some quite hilarious kitty poems.


Ricki: For starters, I finished The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I liked it, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would (isn’t that usually the case with classics?). Then, I read The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate because so many of you commented on last week’s post that it was a must read. THANK YOU! I loved it.

And then something magical happened. I couldn’t decide which book to read out of the stacks that covered my floor, and I discovered NetGalley. Okay, I always knew about it, but I didn’t realize just how awesome it was. I have been attached to my Kindle all week. I read The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle which was great—come back Thursday for the review. Because I am a Micmac Indian, I couldn’t resist ordering and reading Real Justice: Convicted for being Mi’kmaq: The Story of Donald Marshall Jr. (swing by on Wednesday for that review). And lastly, I also finished my 600-page book, Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields, as I am trying to get a head-start on my baby registry. If you are a new mom or going to be a new mom, this one is great. It came highly recommended to me. I am pretty proud of myself this week. Perhaps, I will get back on track with my reading goal.


This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: I am currently on vacation and brought a bunch of books with me, so I will have to pick out of them which I’m going to read. I have a pile of nonfiction picture books from the library, some graphic novels, and a few novels. I know I definitely am going to read Feynman by Jim Ottaviani this week as @CbethM and @mselke highly recommended it and I requested it from the library because of them. I hope that this week will be a more successful reading week as I have no work things to do!! *fingers crossed*


Ricki: Because I am new to NetGalley, I recently learned that most publishers request that people not blog about their books until 30 days prior to their publication. This is a bummer for me because I like to share about a book right after I read it to hear your thoughts. So I have to slow down on my galleys. First, I am going to finish the galley, The Truth about You & Me by Amanda Grace. I started it last night and am enjoying it thus far. It is about a high school teen who takes a college course and falls in love with the professor (scandalous!). Then, I want to read The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb. It is a YA narrative nonfiction text, and I love World War II books, so I am excited. A few of the books I received aren’t going to be published for a few months, so we will see if I can hold off. If not, I will have to read them and then twiddle my thumbs until I am allowed to post their reviews. I am a very patient person, except when it comes to sharing about books. I’ve been known to drive to friends’ houses to deliver a book that they “must read!”


Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday 17198555 17290266

north tommy stained


 So, what are you reading?

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