(Review-YA) Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clare, Cassandra, and Mike Rosamilia. Clockwork Angel. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1416975878. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $7.39.

Info 684 Genre: Historical Fiction

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The first entry into Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Angel takes place in the same world, but 100 years prior, to her wildly popular Immortal Instruments series. Clockwork Angel is set during the Victorian Era of England. 16-year-old Tessa Gray grew up knowing nothing of the supernatural world around her, believing herself a 100% ‘mundane’ human. Following the death of her guardian, Tessa travels across the Atlantic to join her brother in England. Upon reaching England, however, nothing goes quite to plan, her brother fails to meet her, and she is quickly swept into the dark, dangerous, and mysterious world of the “Downworlders.”

Imprisoned and tortured, Tessa struggles to understand this new world and where she fits into it. Escaping imprisonment Tessa finds herself “adopted” into the Shadowhunters Institute, where she quickly makes friends, becoming especially close to the distant and enigmatic Will, and his kind and mysterious friend James. As her search for her brother continues, becoming increasingly more dangerous, Tessa learns there are more than just humans walking the night and must decide where she fits in this fight between good and evil.

My take: Victorian England is portrayed with dizzying detail, from the streets of London, to the etiquette of ladies and gentleman, while the supernatural aspects of the world are painted with far less detail. The heroine accepts the supernatural world’s existence with little fanfare or surprise and jumps right into the battle between the Shadowhunters and demons. The cast of characters are each interesting, from the motherly leader and her absent-minded professor-like husband, to the two mysterious and handsome young men, and the vain young woman with secret fears, these characters are sure to worm their way into your heart. Fans of steampunk and fantasy, especially, will be drawn into this dark and epic start to The Infernal Devices trilogy, and the dramatic end will leave you scrambling for the next in the series. These series aren’t losing their popularity and make a great addition to libraries serving young adults.

Themes include: Historical gender roles, identity, family, loyalty, courage, good vs. evil, friendship, love
Awards: New York Times Bestseller

About the Author: Cassandra Clare moved around a lot in her youth and found familiarity and comfort in books. Inspired by the urban landscape of New York City, her favorite city, Cassandra began writing what would later become her popular debut novel, City of Bones, book 1 of the Immortal Instruments in 2004.

  • Interact with Cassandra at her tumblr, Shadowhunters.
  • Connect with Cassandra on Twitter @cassieclare
  • Read more about Clockwork Angel and Cassandra’s other books on her website.


  • Find Clockwork Angel, at a nearby library with OCLC’s Worldcat database.
  • Discuss Clockwork Angel and find other recommendations at LibraryThing.com.
  • Check out the Shadowhunters Wikia to learn more about the Clockwork Angel world.
  •  Fan of Graphic Novels? Clockwork Angel is available in graphic novel as well.
    Check it out here, at Barnes and Noble.

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Citation & Credits
Clare, Cassandra, and Mike Rosamilia. Clockwork Angel. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010. Print.
Clare, Cassandra. “Clockwork Angel Cover.” Amazon. Web. 27 June 2015. Amazon.com
Review: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved. 
“Cassandra Clare” Cassandra ClareWeb. 27 June 2015. http://www.cassandraclare.com
“Shadow Hunters.” Cassandra Clare. Web. 27 June 2015. http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com
VLCPhotoProductions. “Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 18 August 2010. Web. 27 June 2015.
Clare, Cassandra, & Baek, HyeKyong. “The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel, Volume 1.” Amazon. Web. 27 June 2015. Amazon.com

(Review-YA) Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Myers, Walter D, and Christopher Myers. Monster. New York, N.Y: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999. Print.ISBN-13: 978-0064407311 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $8.95.

Info 684 Genre: Classic

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 11.03.13 PMReview
What does it mean to be “guilty” or “innocent?”

Who decides?

Monster follows 16-year-old Steve Harmon as he recounts his experiences in prison, and during his court case, where he is being tried as an accomplice to murder during a robbery-gone-wrong. Unable to accept that he’s really in this situation, Steve recounts his experience largely in the form of a screenplay, where he and everyone else are ‘actors’ starring in his real-life drama. The daily court scenes are mixed with nightly journal-like entries where Steve reflects on the day’s events, his prison surroundings and fellow inmates, and the steps that have led him to this point in his life.

As we read, we ride intimately along inside Steve’s head throughout the trial as he thinks about guilt and innocence, life in prison, suicide, truth and lies, and the perception of who he is. At the end both the reader and Steve are left to decide what really makes someone a Monster.

My take: I think you guys will be immediately pulled in by this suspenseful and uniquely told court-case drama. The story moves along quickly, and the characters taking part in the trial are so interesting (and dislikable) its hard to put this book down. The journal-like entries let us see inside Steve’s head while he deals with the terrifying experience of not only the trial, but of being in prison as well. The unique writing style, relatable characters, mystery, and suspense make Monster a compelling and intense read. This is an excellent addition to any library and any personal collection for young and old.

Themes include: Prison, the nature of truth, lost innocence, crime, identity, peer pressure, and dehumanization.
Awards: Michael L. Printz Award and Coretta Scott King Award in 2000.

About the Author: Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014) was an African American writer. He grew up mostly in Harlem, New York with a speech impediment. He defines himself as having done poorly in school and as frequently responding to teasing by “leading with [his] fists.” He dropped out of high school to join the military at age 17, but often found solace through reading, and later, at the urging of a beloved English teacher, in writing. Since then he has expressed himself through writing, and defines himself as writing “books for the troubled boy I once was, and for the boy who lives within me still.” You can read more of his bio at his website.


  • Find Monster at a library near you at OCLC’s Worldcat, the world’s largest library catalog!
  • If you liked Monster you can find similar titles at Goodreads.com.
  • See what other Teens have to say about Monster at TeenInk.com.
  • Debuting in October 2015 is Monster: A Graphic Novel, a black & white graphic novel interpretation of Monster.

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Review: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“Walter Dean Myers.” Walter Dean Myers. Web. 27 June 2015.
Walter Dean Myers. “Monster.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 8 April 2014. Web. 27 June 2015.
Myers, Walter Dean, & Sims, Guy A. “Monster: A Graphic Novel.” Amazon. Web. 27 June 2015.

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Hello there! Thank you for visiting my blog, Don’t Shush Me!. I am a librarian-to-be, currently working to complete my coursework for my Master of Library and Information Science degree, with my Pennsylvania School Librarian teaching certification at Drexel University. With a passion for literacy and all things technology related, I intend to create a school library that is safe place for my students to think, create, and try, while they gain an understanding of information literacy, an appreciation for reading, and a lifelong love of learning.

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Kelsey Bogan