When you're doing an on the spot book talk (recommendation), most of the time the requester doesn't have all day to stand there and listen to you wax poetic about how the nuances of some character in such and such a book really tie it together. Most of the time, especially if they're a teenager, they want one sentence that answers the question: "what's it about?"Here are some quick, to the point blurbs for books I read last month:
Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George
Summary: Cursed princesses are forced to pay off their late mother's debt by dancing from midnight to dawn. The threat of excommunication looms over the kingdom unless someone can find out where the princesses are going each night.
About: Fractured fairy tale, love, loyalty
Genre: Fairy tales, romance, adventure
Audience: 5th-7th grade, someone looking for a quick read, someone who has heard this fairy tale before (or me, who had seen a scary cartoon version when I was younger and couldn't remember the ending)
Graceling*, by Kristin Cashore
Summary: Gracelings are people born with extreme skills (mind reading, super-killers, etc.) and one Graceling in particular, Katsa, goes on a rescue mission that turns into attempting to take down an entire kingdom.
About: Strength, loyalty, rescue, survival
Genre: Dystopia, adventure
Audience: Hunger Games fans - it's all about the kickass female, fighting and survival. Teens, people looking for something about questioning authority
Story Time, by Edward Bloor
Summary: George and Kate transfer to a special school for the gifted that focuses solely on standardized testing. Once there, they realize that something is off about the school and they work to take down the system.
About: Education, fairy tales, overcoming obstacles
Genre: Satire, paranormal, comedy
Audience: 6th-7th graders, someone looking for a quirky book, anyone who liked Tangerine, which is also by Edward Bloor, someone looking for an anti-authority read
My Life in Pink & Green*, by Lisa Greenwald
Summary: Lucy's grandmother owns a pharmacy that is quickly headed towards bankruptcy. Lucy thinks she can save the store single-handedly by turning the store "green."
About: Recycling, friendship, makeovers
Genre: Chick lit (offensive term, I know, but yeah it's kind of an offensive book)
Audience: 4th-6th grade, people looking for quick reads, people who like "cute" books. This book advises readers to avoid doing anything that will give them wrinkles, so I feel like I wouldn't want to really recommend it to anyone...
The Mother-Daughter Book Club*, by Heather Vogel Frederick
Summary: After a productive yoga class, a group of mothers decide it's a perfect idea to create a mother-daughter book club. The group members read and compare their lives to Little Women, each effectively growing into a better person by the book's end.
About: Mother-daughter relationships (shocker), friendship, books
Genre: Chick lit (not as offensive as above), dramedy
Audience: 4th-6th grade, people who like book/movie references in their stories, someone looking for a "cute" book, people who like series books (it's the first in a series).
* I read these books because they were constantly being checked out by students and I had to know what was up. The other two books were recommended by VOYA.