QuickLit Review: Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy – These teens will make your blood run cold

Vampire AcademyWith the upcoming release of the film adaptation of Richelle Mead’s popular The Vampire Academy series, many young people will be clambering to read the books. Like vampire tales of the past, these titles might best be reserved for mature readers.

Told from the perspective of Rose, a half-human, half-vampire bodyguard-in-training to Lissa, a vampire from a royal bloodline, the details of the pair’s lives are told in all their scintillating detail. Rose and Lissa share a psychic connection that allows Rose to see the world through Lissa’s eyes. The two spend most of the book talking about, thinking about, and engaging in normal teen activities, such as hooking up, partying, and avoiding school work. While the story follows the outline of other boarding school tales, the vampire conventions take their antics to a whole new level. The discussions and the depictions of school life (i.e. cliques, clothes, sexual encounters, double-standards about those encounters, sexual shaming, and the use of humans to satisfy both sexual and dietary necessities) will add to the popular teen appeal. Be prepared for some questions if you give this to anyone under 12.

Sexual activity –SS

Violence- V (The bodyguards train and fight in several well-written but brutal scenes.)

Questionable Behavior –  ??

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QuickLit Review: DARIUS AND TWIG – Friendship, Struggle and Triumph in Harlem — Walter Dean Myers’s 2014 Printz Honor Winner

Dariusw and TwigWalter Dean Myers’s 2014 Printz Honor winner, Darius & Twig, joins Myers’s long list of works featuring straight-talking, genuine characters dealing with real life struggles. In his latest novel, two high school friends encourage each other’s dreams as they fight to rise above the violence, and dream-killing streets of their neighborhood in Harlem. Darius, an aspiring writer, searches for his place in the world and his voice as he explores alternative lives through his fiction.  Darius’s best friend, Twig, battles a different set of problems: family and outsiders’ demands that he settle for less and forget about going to college, despite his conviction that he has what it takes to compete nationally as a long distance runner. Myers’s skill at crafting intimate portraits of young men facing high stakes in difficult situations, invites us to see the world of guns, crack, and random crime through a different set of lenses. Instead of moralizing about the effect of the mean streets of New York on young black and Latino males, Myers paints a world of loving families, wise and caring neighbors, and the true value of friends.

Sex  = 0

Violence = V (Although the boys witness drive-by shootings, fistfights and domestic abuse, Myers keeps the descriptions PG -13 with little graphic detail.)

Questionable Behavior = ? (Darius and Twig see and hear about drug abuse and gun play, they themselves do not participate.)