Books by Lisa Ann Sandell

A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD by Lisa Ann Sandell
Released: April 1, 2009

Aspiring cartographer—and introvert—Cora has endured a lot of negative changes in the last four months. Her brother Nate's death in a car accident has torn her family apart. Now she has to start high school as "the girl whose brother died." She's also growing apart from her best friend. There's nowhere for her to escape in her small town, so she fuels her dreams of travel by studying and expanding the world map she has in her bedroom. Advanced Art class is the one place Cora thought she could find refuge, until her brother's best friend, Damian Archer, shows up. Art brings Cora and Damian into a heady romance. It also gives Cora the strength to make herself happy, and to defy her parents in pursuit of learning more about Nate. Cora's voice is often too wise and mature, but the slow pacing accurately portrays the way that a few months in the life of a freshman can seem like eternity. The attractive cover will draw romance readers, who are in for a satisfying read if they can get past the first 50 pages. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
SONG OF THE SPARROW by Lisa Ann Sandell
Released: May 1, 2007

In this Arthurian historical-romance, teenaged Elaine of Ascolat (best known as Tennyson's "Lady of Shalott") grows out of her accustomed role as war-camp mascot by saving Arthur's army from a Saxon ambush at Badon Hill, turning the hostile Gwynivere into a friend and finally getting over her own infatuation with Lancelot—hooking up with Tristan instead. By the end, she's even cut back on fretting about her looks. Sandell writes in seldom-elevated free verse, spurs the plot with trite devices—a never-identified British spy so-conveniently debriefs right outside the tent where Elaine and Gwynivere are being held captive by Saxons—then closes with a term-paperish rehash of the Arthurian Legend's history, and a reading list. Readers fond of tales about hunky, boyish men and the women who give their lives meaning may enjoy this reworking, but it's only empty calories next to Gerald Morris's far smarter and wittier takes. (Fiction. 12-15)Read full book review >
THE WEIGHT OF THE SKY by Lisa Ann Sandell
Released: March 1, 2006

This lovely first-person narrative told in poetry introduces Sarah, a 16-year-old who feels misplaced in the American suburban community that she inhabits. With the pressure of college choices ahead of her, Sarah begins to wonder about her choices and about who she really is. Because Sarah's parents understand this, they buy her a ticket to Israel for the summer. Love with an Israeli soldier, friendships with various teens and new experiences working on a kibbutz all move Sarah forward in her thinking about who she is and what her purpose might be. More than a few moments in this verse novel are poignant: Sarah's desperate attempt to understand the Israeli's complex feeling of compulsory army, friends who die in the ongoing conflict and the simple sensual pleasures of eating fruit off a tree are a few examples. Give this to teenage readers who are searching for perspective outside of themselves or as an alternative to the SAT grind. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >