aka YA Literature
Monday, December 31, 2007
Author: Shannon Hale
Being a HUGE fan of Ms. Hale's Goose Girl series, I had extremely high expectations for her newest book, Book of a Thousand Days.
Book of a Thousand Days is the diary of a simple peasant girl, Dashti, who accepts a position as maid to an unruly princess. After completely an extensive training, Dashti begins her service only to join her princess for a seven-year imprisonment in a tower due to the princess's refusal of her arranged marriage. Through the course of the book, the princess's true love often comes to comfort her; however, at the Princess's command, Dashti poses as the Princess...and secretly fall in love with him herself! Eventually, Dashti and the Princess escape to a war-torn world... now Dashti and the Princess must stop the evil forces and journey to meet "their" beloved Prince.
The Good: The last 100-pages are pure ecstasy! The creative manner in which Dashti overcomes the evil forces is reminiscent of Goose Girl, and nothing but pure joy. In fact, it would be hard for me to think of a better way to end this story.
The Bad: Perhaps the diary/journal format is not Ms Hale's strong point. This diary read much like my own...a whole lot of nothing happening...day after day after day! I don't know that I would really recommend this books to teens...the first 200-pages where so slow and hard to get through, that I doubt many teens would put the effort into reaching the exciting conclusion. I also found the whining of the Princess (and Dashti's acceptance of her whining) more than a little annoying. This is definitely no Goose Girl...
Freak Show by James St. James
This was by far my favorite book published this year and the only one that I think will stay in my all-time favorites list (you know, those books that just stay with you, that you mention over and over to others, that you put in your blog profile, etc.).
Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey (could be an all-time if the other books can elucidate the plot more)
Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Big Poppa E's Greatest Hits: Poems to Read Aloud by Eirik Ott (aka Big Poppa E) (Believe me, if you have students who compete in speech, they have heard of this guy. If you aren't convinced that teens will like his poetry, read this story.)
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Favorite Book Covers of 2007
I've noticed that these two books have extremely attractive covers, and as soon as we put them on the circulation desk for display, they are immediately checked out, and the students have often commented on the attractiveness of the covers:
Books I'm Most Looking Forward to Reading in 2008
Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I'd also include Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen if I hadn't already read it (thanks again, Heather!) and whatever the sequel to Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey will be titled if I knew it was coming out in 2008.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Also, a note to bloggers: Click here to learn how to complete the phrase "I hate ___" to dramatically increase traffic to your site. I am not including it here so as not to get too many irrelevant visitors. We're already getting too many from the suggestive subject line that Cody wrote about Vanessa Hudgens's sex tape and, recently, for this picture that Holly included. I guess this phrase would have been a better, easier plan than the one I had about author costumes. Who knew?
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Dance of the Assassins by Herve Jubert
The Scroll of Seducation by Gioconda Belli
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann (not a YA book but mentioned as good for teens in several reviews)
Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner
Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley & Heather Hepler
Shattering Glass, What Happened to Cass McBride, Playing in Traffic, and Right Behind You by Gail Giles
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (I have to admit that I started this book twice on audio and only got about half way through, so I am going to try reading the text now)
Holly, if you have any requests for which ones you'd like me to read first, let me know.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The other story line takes place generations later and involves a teenage boy named Hahp. He is the second son of a wealthy man who is sent by his cruel father to study at the wizard academy. Magic abounds by this time, but only sons of wealthy men are allowed to go to the wizard academy. Hahp doesn’t want to go but is forced to by his father. His family is told that they will never see him again. When he arrives there, he is told that of the ten boys in his class, only one will become a wizard. The rest will die. The wizards who are their teachers are generally completely unhelpful and rely on the boys’ desperation to learn rather than actual instruction in magic. For example, the boys are given no food and can only eat when they figure out how to use magic to create food for themselves. They are not allowed to help each other in any way, and eventually they start dying off.
The two storylines eventually begin to overlap more and more. Each story is suspenseful and interesting on its own, and you have the added anticipation of figuring out how they connect. Bookshelves of Doom said the ending was a "cliffhanger," but that is a huge understatement! This was like an unfinished novel! What happened to Sadima???? I am also not clear on how it is that magic is ubiquitous in Hahp's story, even though the wizards only teach a few others and do not allow them to practice outside of the academy.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Every so often I get great ideas, and I think this might be another (although, of course, I am completely stealing it from Esquire and it's not quite as great as my costume idea). I think David Levithan should collect napkin stories from a bunch of YA authors. I only suggest him because he's an editor, seems to know lots of authors, and has done other anthologies, so this seems like a natural fit (and I also love him). But really anyone would be fine with me. I'd offer to collect them and post them here on ATR, which would be very cool, but I don't have the author connections. I just want to read them.
This one called "Sarah II" by J.M. Tyree reminds me of another story I've read recently, but I can't put my finger on it. Any ideas what it is?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
1. Go to the Wikipedia home page and click random article. That is your band's name.
2. Click random article again; that is your album name.
3. Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album.
Contingent Workforce Outsourcing
Gregorio Conrado Álvarez
Post-missionary church and monastery in Lublin
China compulsory certification
Hong Kong Council
Ink Eradicator [I think this would also be a good band name]
Jan Zamoyski (1912-2002)
Iota Phi Theta (disambiguation)
PS - I like the word "disambiguation."
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I read this book because it is on the 2008 Tayshas list. From what I knew about the book, it didn't seem like a book teens would enjoy. Now that I've read it, I am still unsure. I think I could probably booktalk it pretty well. There is this really scary and disturbing scene where the man and the boy come upon a house where it is evident that some people had been staying. The boy is frightened and begs his dad to leave, but they are starving and the man needs to pry open the basement door to see if there is any food there. They discover all these people trapped down there who start crying, "Help us! Help us!" Man, just thinking about that scene now days later still creeps me out. But I don't want to get students to read it if they won't like it. I would say some teens might like it, but it is extremely bleak and disturbing. After the first few pages, the tension of the book remains very high, and it definitely deserves its Pulitzer Prize. I felt the constant desperation and danger throughout the story.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Update: I haven't seen any official pages for the movie, but Vanessa Hudgens is confirmed in her role and Alex Pettyfer is rumored to be starring opposite as Kyle (ie. the beast). The book is told from Kyle's perspective.
Next update: Mary Kate Olsen has been cast as the witch who casts the spell on Kyle. I can see it.
Update III: Neil Patrick Harris is playing the tutor!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Holly, Cody, and anyone else who might read this blog, be thinking of your 2007 favorites!
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Even though I quite liked many of the nominees, I have to say that my support would definitely go to Freak Show by James St. James.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
1. I posted the other day about how Kristen Stewart is going to play Bella in the Twilight movie. Supposedly filming starts in February, but when are they going to cast the Cullens??? Shouldn't they have done that by now? I once posted that I thought Jonathan Rhys Meyers would make a good Edward, but he does/did drugs and that turns me off. Still . . . . (Last time I made the mistake of posting a picture of JRM and then we kept getting all this traffic from Google image searches for him.)
2. Amazon has voting for the best teen books of 2007. The candidates are the top ten best selling books for teens on Amazon.com through October 2007. I am really surprised at some of the books on there (Math Doesn't Suck, for instance - - was it really that popular?). The editors' picks are kind of interesting. I don't think I've seen anyone talking about Arrival by Shaun Tan.
3. I wore my "Sam Hellerman is a Genius" shirt last Friday because I was booktalking King Dork. It was fantastic! Someone in every single period asked me about it before I even started talking about books. "Who is Sam Hellerman? "What does your shirt mean?" I need to get/make some more fun book shirts. (Un)fortunately, I checked out King Dork in the very first period, so I could only kind-of describe the book and not check it out to anyone.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
*Holly, you wouldn't even believe the curcuitous way I came to this site. It invloves your comment about 13 Reasons Why not being at the library and Asher's bio on iPage mentioning his inclusion in this list. I figure if someone's going to put it in his bio, I can in decent conscience mention it on this blog.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Clay Jensen comes home from school one day to find 7 recorded audio tapes left for him. He finds that they were recorded by Hannah, the girl on whom he had a crush and who recently killed herself. The tapes are about the thirteeen reasons why she killed herself and are addressed to the thirteen people who contributed to her reasons for suicide. The premise is fantastic and I think I'll have a very easy time getting students to read this. It will definitely be in my booktalking rotation. I mean, how easy will this be to set up? (Answer: Very.) I liked how Clay would go around town not really knowing who all was involved in the story and who had heard the tapes, as well as how he had meta-knowledge and different interpretations of things that Hannah didn't have. The layers of understanding and misunderstanding were interesting, and I appreciated the intertwined stories of Clay's present storyline and Hannah's recounting of past events. I think the reason I didn't like this as much as I thought I would is that I had very little sympathy for Hannah. At one point, I did sort of feel for her (won't say when so as not to spoil anything), but mostly she was just sort of weak and irritating. I know that Clay felt annoyed and mad at her at times too, so in a way, maybe this actually demonstrates that Asher did a good job with the characterization. But since I didn't really feel for her, I just kept wanting the book to get to a part where I could feel something for Hannah's plight. It was interesting, but it didn't make me not want to put it down or care terribly much about the characters. I'm also a little confused about how Hannah could include Jessica in her list and tell the rather negative stories about her, considering what eventually happened.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I will tell you one thing that I never knew. Database and e-book prices are totally negotiable. I remember a reading maybe on how it's important to carefully review the contracts for database subscriptions, but I don't remember anyone ever saying how negotiable the prices are. Example: A database company (I won't say who) was trying to promote their new product to us for $1,000. They called with a special promotion for $800. We were like, "No thanks. We really don't have that kind of money." They were like, "What would you pay for it?" Us: "I don't know, maybe $200?" Them: "What about $250?" Us: "Give us a free trial and we'll see." And that's just one of many, many examples.
Another thing they didn't teach in library school but is extremely important is doing good displays! Seriously, just putting a book on the circulation desk equals a guaranteed checkout. We should have had a unit on thinking up display ideas and putting one together (ones that actually look interesting and eye-catching). But maybe other library schools do this and I just didn't.
Now these are serious things that they could have taught and that I suspect some people do get in library school. What are some things that you just have to get on the job?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
So the basic plot of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead is that, in addition to humans, there are three major players in the vampire world. Moroi are mortal vampires who must be protected from the evil immortal vampires, the Strigoi. Moroi are protected by Dhampir who are half vampire and half human (Moroi can't mate with each other). The two main characters are Lissa, a Moroi princess, and her best friend Rose, a Dhampir "guardian"-in-training. The book opens with them being taken back to the secluded Vampire Academy in Montana that they escaped from a year previously. From there, it's half high school cliques and politics and half serious vampire-world issues. For instance, Lissa has secret healing powers that take a toll on her emotionally and physically, and Rose can get inside of Lissa's head to experience what she does. Both girls have complicated romantic interests, and someone is leaving dead animals for Lissa to find.
I enjoyed the book and read it in two sittings. However, I would most likely recommend it to voracious readers who have already read everything else in the library or to readers who really like vampire books. I'd say it's probably comparable to Melissa de la Cruz, possibly a little bit more developed.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin - I really enjoyed this book. It is a quick read about a girl named Naomi who falls down some stairs and gets amnesia. She can't figure out why she loves her boyfriend, what the deal is with her best friend (who is a guy), and why she has the hots for this bad-buy type who rescued her. This book actually reminded me a lot of Christina Applegate's new show, Samantha, Who.
The Off Season by Catherine Murdock - This sequel to Dairy Queen is just as enjoyable as its predecessor. I listened to Dairy Queen on audio where the narrator had a heavy Midwest accent so the whole time I was reading, I kept hearing D.J.'s Wisconsin accent in my head. D.J. gets a little more romantic action in this book, but don't hold out for happily ever after.
King Dork by Frank Portman - This book is very different from my normal YA reads. The narrator is a hugely dorky guy whose whole face spasms when he is nervous. And yet he still gets some hot and heavy makeout action. King Dork isn't as quick of a read because it is more detailed and has lot of references to literature and music. I liked it. And, like Sheryl, I want a shirt. But I want mine to say "The Chi-Mos."
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Basically, if you like Sarah Dessen's writing, you'll like this book. It's very typical of her. I like her writing, so I liked this book. There is a female main character, she has some personal issues with herself and her family, there's a hint of romance, and things must be worked out. As with her other books, there are well-developed secondary characters. Each character and situation is always different in her books, but the style is very consistent. One thing that is slightly different in this book is that Nate also has issues to work through. I think it would have been neat if the book alternated between Nate and Ruby as narrators to give it a little something different. I didn't like this quite as much as Just Listen (man, I loved the sister in that book), but it was good.
One of the fun tidbits about Lock and Key is that it obviously takes place in the same generic place that Just Listen did because Cora and Jamie live in Wildflower Ridge, and Nate turns on Annabelle's radio show (among other JL allusions).
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Do celebrities really read this many "serious" books?
Does O Magazine just select celebrities who do read these kinds of books?
Do the celebrities read "lighter" stuff but those are not the books that "made a difference" to them? The title of the feature isn't "favorite books," afterall.
Is there any chance (some) celebrities are fronting a little on the books they choose to seem "deeper" (for lack of a better word)?
All right, Cody and Holly (and anyone else!), what books would you choose for your feature in O Magazine?
Monday, November 5, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I ordered it because I loved King Dork so much and because I liked this saying. I've never bought a shirt related to books before (although I've liked some), but I think I should start doing it more (but only if they have cool sayings like this one). I think I may wear it during my next day of booktalking.
I also discovered that Frank Portman has another novel called Andromeda Klein coming out in 2008. I can't wait. I like the title and cover of this better than those of KD. Perhaps The Magic Blog (ie. some ATR reader) will send me an ARC! And perhaps Portman will tour in promotion of the new book, and perhaps that tour will include Houston (perhaps the Blue Willow Bookshop where many a famous YA author has signed?). And perhaps I will then be ecstatic.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
MEG CABOT (I have read every single book you have written...even the 1-800 series)
SARAH DESSEN (Love your books. Love. Them.)
STEPHENIE MEYER (c'mon, we are both BYU alums!)
SCOTT WESTERFELD (I met you at TLA...that bonded us, right?)
E.LOCKHART (any secret sister to B2O is bound to be AWESOME)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Author: Sherman Alexie
I think she and Daria and I need to go see Kathy Griffin perform. I mean, KG is like THE celebrity I'd most like to meet, and Daria and Meg both really like her. Not sure how I can persuade them to take me along with them, but maybe I can work something out. And then maybe we can join Rachel Cohn and David Levithan for a "My So Called Life" marathon. Maybe YALSA can sponsor this as a Dream Prize or something (and I'll win, naturally). "Win a Night With Daria Snadowsky and Meg Cabot to see Kathy Griffin Live, Followed by a Night of Watching 'My So Called Life' on DVD With Rachel Cohn and David Levithan." It could work. I'll bring cupcakes.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
(English major). Nowadays I am slummin' it with chick lit and YA lit.
Bold those you’ve read.
Italicize books you have started but couldn’t (or just didn't) finish.
Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once.
Underline those on your To Be Read list.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Pride and Prejudice
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian Halfway through...
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Ubervilles
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Sound and the Fury
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
In Cold Blood
The Three Musketeers
Monday, October 15, 2007
Okay, I know many of you have probably already read and/or read about Extras by now, but just for the record, let me briefly explain the plot. The main character is an "extra" named Aya Fuse, an ugly in Japan three years after the mind-rain (ie. right after the Diego War and the end of bubbleheaded-ness, thanks to Tally at the end of Specials). Aya's city is a "reputation economy," meaning that fame is pretty much the currency and (almost) everyone's end-all goal. Lots of crazy surges take place all the time, but the main point is to become famous. Aya is hoping to be a famous "kicker" like her brother Hiro. Kickers create stories that are spread through skintenna feeds, which makes the producers (ie. the kickers) famous. While working on a story that she hopes will make her extremely famous, Aya stumbles into an even bigger story, although Aya is not entirely sure what is going on. It becomes dangerous, she is invloved, Tally & Friends arrive to intervene, and the mystery is eventually solved.
Without giving too much of the plot away, the environment plays a big role in the story because not only do the characters reference the irresponsibility of the Rusties (like they did in the previous 3 books), but steel and its scarcity are central to the plot. Steel is very scarce, particularly as bubbleheaded-ness is over and cities are trying to expand. They are trying to scavenge all the steel possible from Rusty ruins and are even considering going back into Rusty mines to find more. Tally and David are trying to save the earth, so of course, they are fighting against this. As Aya is pursuing her story, she finds these "freaks" who are hording steel canisters, which she is not sure the purpose of. I can't really say too much else without giving away a lot of the plot, but suffice it to say that if you wanted to have a book to talk about environmental issues or if you wanted to do a bookmark or display of teen books about the environment, this would be completely appropriate.
My take on the book? Well, I have only ever listened to the books in this series, so this was a new experience for me. In a weird way, this was kind of better because it went faster. I'm not so much into the "suspense" parts with the flying and the hovering and the chases and the sneak suits, so in reading, I could just sort of skim over those parts. What I did really like in this book, though, was the whole concept of the "reputation economy." I can totally see how many of the current trends and practices we have now could develop into the society in which Aya lives. The idea that individuals would be preoccupied by their Face Rank is totally believable, just considering how much and often people Google themselves or check their Amazon sales number or their website's ranking or whatever. Fame seems to be a pretty big attraction, and I thought it was utterly believable and fitting that the second most famous person in the city was someone obsessed with trivial things liked what someone is wearing or who they are dating. There are tons of things to discuss here, including Paparazzi, the price of fame, what makes people famous, the benefits of fame, how people will become famous in the future, how the Internet changes or affects who becomes famous and how, etc. I really appreciate that Westerfeld is able to meld these weighty issues into the plots of his book without being too didactic.
And though it doesn't have anything to do at all with Extras, here's a link to Hank Green's EcoGeek site. It's just a tribute in honor of BAD.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe
Book Rating: A
I decided to listen to this book because I needed an audiobook for the weekend and none of my requests were in. Plus, I was getting ready for some booktalks, and I realized that I pretty much only read girly books and thus am not very familiar with more "guy" books.* I basically just pulled this off the shelf, looked at the synopsis and noted John Green's endorsement (despite the fact that he is dead to me), and figured, "Maybe this won't be too bad." But I really adored this book. I laughed so much, I can't even tell you. I appreciated the insightful commentary on AP teachers' love of A Catcher in the Rye and the way in which AP classes often have much easier and less relevant "projects" in the name of creativity and giftedness. The ever-changing band names and album titles ("Margaret? It's God. Please Shut Up.") were pure genius. I also liked how Portman made all the details come together (example: ChiMo). It was just great. And I think it is equally appealing to both males and females, and I can't wait to start pushing it on students. I do kinda wish it had a different title since I personally don't find the title very appealing or representative of the plot or greatness of this book.
The Good: I didn't like the narrator for quite a while. His voice didn't seem right to me and he was missing lots of the sarcastic tones, in my opinion. However, after a couple of CDs, he either got better or I got used to it because by the end, I was enjoying the performance and thinking that Hoppe was doing a good job of portraying Tom's confusion, sarcasm, and general perspective.
* On the subject of booktalks, I've noticed people debating whether or not one should booktalk books one has not read. For the record, if anyone cares, I come firmly down on the "you can booktalk books you have not read" side. I have several reasons for feeling this way. (1) I have done it with success and with no bad experiences. (2) I don't pretend to have read them if I haven't, and no students have seemed upset or put off by this. (3) It is not possible to read all books. There are too many. I have many adult books I want to read in addition to all the YA ones I want to read. My life is too short and does not have enough time in it to read books I'm not interested in reading (especially when there are so many I want to read). Therefore, if I don't booktalk books I haven't read, I am really limiting the number and type of books I can booktalk.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I've been waiting for this book on audio for literally months! Finally it came in. The back synopsis says, "What if you could see inside the head of the guy you love? Know his every thought? Feel his every dream and fantasy? The mystery girl who's inside the mind of Gideon Rayburn can. She tells us the intoxicating story of her beloved Gideon, an adorably clueless boy who flukes his way into New England's fanciest prep school." Sounds cute, right? Some light chick lit along the lines of E. Lockhart is what I was expecting. Well, it's not exactly deep, I guess, but it wasn't the light-hearted romp I was expecting. With the drinking, drugs, sex, and occassional cussing, it was edgier than I expected (which I happen to like). In addition to the little publisher synopsis, I think it's important to add that Gideon's new roommates, Nicholas and Cullen, are extremely hot and popular and come up with a bet that Gid can't lose his virginity to Molly McGarry before Halloween.
*Can I just ask what is up with the cover of this book? I'll grant you that Gid thinks about girls' breasts a couple of times, and Pilar does wear white (although I don't think she wears a Polo shirt at any point). But really, what does a woman's half-opened chest have to do with the book? Gid's not that shallow.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Kathleen Duey, Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic, Book One
M. Sindy Felin, Touching Snow
Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sara Zarr, Story of a Girl
Sadly, I've only heard of one of these books....and I haven't read any of them! Couldn't they have chosen at least one or two popular titles! I mean, I'm not expecting the see Stephenie Meyer on the list (she's far too good for a stupid National Book Award)...but at least something we might already have in our collection!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
It could be a good movie if they do it well. We'll see. RC seems happy about it and said the script is "excellent." What I really want is a freakin audiobook! Is that too much to ask? Would this not be perfect for two cast members?????
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Narrator: Ariadne Meyers
At first, I thought it was slow. I had a hard time getting into it, and it was seeming like very average teen chick lit (amusing and enjoyable but nothing notable). At some point about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through, though, it really picked up steam, and I ended up really liking the book. I knew that the witchcraft was going to backfire, but it didn't backfire the way I thought it would, and it wasn't as "comedy of errors" as I was expecting. Rachel was really bugging me with how completely blind and stupid she was being in not telling Raf about her father's wedding and just continually expecting it to all work out. I also thought Rachel's klutziness at the fashion show was a little overdone. Despite that, Rachel had an endearing and funny teen-speak that I enjoyed, and the book ended up being kind of what you expected (I mean, it's pretty obvious all this witchcraft is going to backfire) but also able to sustain my interest in finding out what would happen and hoping that it would all work out. The ending with Raf was quite well-done---redeeming for Raf and true to Rachel's personality. I was glad to see that things were worked out, but not completely and not with, like, Rachel becoming totally popular on her own or realizing "the magic was within her." It was a good balance of working out and disaster. It's also nice because it's completely appropriate for middle and high school, and I think both age groups would like it. I'm usually one for "older" and edgier books, but I found myself liking the mix of romance, humor, vulnerability, and plot complications.
The Good: Meyers was believable as a teen and hit most of the right notes in capturing the essence of all the teen phrases and girly observations. She did an excellent job at creating differentiatied and appropriate character voices and keeping them consistent throughout.
The Bad: There wasn't anything bad, just a few places that Meyers used inflection choices that I wouldn't have. She didn't sound like what I pictured for Rachel, but the performance was very good. The CDs didn't let you know when they were over, which is super annoying.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Well, one of my coworkers happens to collect police insignia (I know, the library attracts all kinds of weirdos!) Anyway, when I mentioned to him that Forks and La Push are actual towns, he said he thought his collection included police patches for both of those towns. Well, what a pleasant surprise this morning when I discovered these two patches on my desk! My blog mates may have gotten Stephenie's autograph at the Texas Library Association's Spring Meeting, but we now know who the biggest Twilight fan is here at ATR!!!!
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Like I said in my first post about this book, I would love to see her go on "The Daily Show" and have Jon Stewart ask her about some of these political ramifications.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Now, I'll admit that it may have been due to my lowered expectations, but I was completely surprised by Eclipse! As with the first two books, Eclipse proved to be a quick, addictive read, which left me only wanting more. I felt that Ms Meyer did a wonderful job of creating humorous situations, which helped give her characters much more depth; I was particularly impressed with how well-rounded Bella's father, Charlie, became in this book. I absolutely LOVED the part where Charlie had his sex talk with Bella...priceless!!! And as always, Ms Meyer's dramatic conclusion was as exciting as her previous two works.
My only complaint was Bella's neediness....which I had actually expected to be much worse after reading the previous blog postings. What caused bigger problem for me was Bella's refusal to get married. I mean, if Bella was soooo crazy for Edward that she couldn't part his side, would marriage really have been that opposed (even if it is kinda' white trash to do the marriage after high school like she mentioned.)
I can't wait to see what the fourth book will bring next year. After the dramatic conclusion, one must wonder what will happen in the next book! I was a little disappointed that Bella still isn't a vampire....I mean, how much longer is that going to drag out! However, with the villain dead, what's left? My guess is that there's going to be a lot of drama between the Collen family and the Volturi. I'll tell you one thing, I will be standing in line next August waiting for the fourth book!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Author: Marissa Walsh
Although I was drawn to this book by it's clever title and attractive packaging, it was the short length that really convinced me to pick this up. Yes, like a high-schooler who's waited until the day before his/her report is due, I chose the shortest, quickest read so that I could pop out a blog entry! (Although in my defense, I'm busy reading Eclipse....which I finally got this week!!!)
Anyway, The Field Guide to High School is one sister's attempt to advise her younger sister on the social environment of their small private school. Although the work does a good job of describing the environment of high school life - and is mildly humorous - overall, I was a little disappointed in this work. Perhaps all that can be said for The Field Guide is 1) it is short (which would appeal to reluctant reader) and 2)it used a variety of popular culture (everything from The Heathers to High School Musical.) In fact, Ms. Walsh includes a recommended reading list, which included many of the books we've reviewed here!
My advice is to skip the novel itself and just use the book, movie, and music list at the end of the book!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
*Interesting fact about Gabrielle: she has a totally fantastic name for her dog: Mrs. DeWinter (kind of long name to say, though).
Monday, September 10, 2007
Banned Books in the U.S.A.: A Bookish Quiz on Mental Floss
Sunday, September 9, 2007
What do y'all think: Is it any easier to be a gay or transgender teen now than it was in the 80s?
Another thing this brought up for me is about reading GLBT teen lit. We have lots of it in my library, but I haven't seen any of it checked out yet. Are teens comfortable with doing that, do you think?
Freak Show is about a high school senior named Billy Bloom who starts his senior year at a new private prep school in Florida. On his first day of school, Billy decides to make a good impression by wearing a FABULOUS "retro-new wave/Vivienne Westwood/pirate look" with a ruffled lace shirt unbuttoned, tight blue pants, a thrift store military jacket, a crimson sash, and rags tied in his hair. "Don't worry. It's totally masculine. Swarthy, even. Nobody will suspect a thing [about him being gay]." On his way to school, he begins to anticipate all the wonderful things he'll be able to do there, like make new friends, join the Gay-Straight Alliance, write a trendspotting column for the newspaper, redecorate the school, start a Jackie O club, and set up a What Not to Wear booth in the lunchroom. Unfortunately, the very homogenous and WASP-y student body doesn't take too well to Billy's flamboyancy and he is immediately outcast, teased, and even beaten. Eventually, he makes a few friends and decides to run against Lynnette Franz for Homecoming Queen.
James St. James does an incredible job at creating Billy's "voice," and I just love Billy's plays-on-words. Just like everyone on the YALSA list said, the book is hilarious and I laughed out loud many, many times in reading it. But it's also meaningful, and Billy is vulnerable. It's not just silliness and laughs because Billy really does struggle with serious, big issues. Even though Billy relates his "freakishness" to what all teens experience, I think he has to confront issues even larger than the average teen. I mean, most people don't get beat into a coma for their issues, right?
You MUST read this book.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Q: Will you and David write more books together?
No plans for another book at this time - too busy!
This is unacceptable.
- I thought this book was just going to alternate between the perspectives of Ely and Naomi like Nick and Norah, so I was pleasantly surprised that it also includes perspectives of many other characters, which works out really well. And I love how good RC and DL are at the characterization and voice of each. I need to do some research to find out how they divided up (if at all?) the writing for this book.
- I loved the parts about Gabriel creating the mix CD for Naomi and how he wanted her to dissect, understand, and appreciate the subtle meanings of each song he chose. And then she didn't get any of it and made him a "bad" response CD, which he took lots of meaning from. I am totally the Naomi-type. I mean, I like music well enough and can try to determine someone's intent if they tell me they had one in making a playlist just for me. But I am not a music connoisseur, I like lots of "popular" music, and I don't know a lot of bands or anything like that. But it seems like almost every guy I know is totally into music and very snobby about it and I can totally imagine them all having this same horrified reaction to whatever music I own and over-analyzing (in my opinion) my character based on the music I like.
- Naomi and Ely's banter, much like that of Nick and Norah, is so quick and witty, it reminds me of Gilmore Girls. I love it, but I was never that quick-tongued as a teen. I don't know anyone who is. I guess Naomi and Ely are actually 19, but even so, they seem a lot older and more independent than I ever was at that age. But I also don't live in NYC.
- I love how both books are about average things that happen to teens that are made to be extraordinary, the way they feel when they happen to you. And also they have strong satisfying endings.
- Naomi's little picture symbols were a little distracting because they slowed me down, although I suppose they did contribute to her characterization.
- Such a great line. It seems like it fits so many times in your life: "I know this is the wrong choice. But it feels like the only choice. So I make it."
Rachel and David, I am ready for the next List!
PS- Holly, I still haven't tried that thing from N&NIP.