aka YA Literature

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Okay, Holly. I finally finished Eclipse. Let the debriefing begin!

In deference to Cody who has not yet even gotten the book, I'll refrain from most commentary in the post and save it for the comments. But without giving much away, let me say this. I was never a huge Evanovich fan, but the Stephanie Plum series was fairly enjoyable to listen to on my commute. But I gave up on it around book 10 or 11 because Stephanie became so ridiclous and unbelievable. What woman (or generally sane person) knows that dangerous homicidal people are after her and refuses to take even the most basic of safety precautions like just staying home for a day? Answer: none. And I think Bella must be related to Stephanie because she is so selfish and unconcerned with taking any safety measures whatsoever. It's unbelievable and it's annoying.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters

Title: Dead Girls Don't Write Letters
Author: Gail Giles
Rating: B-

Sunni's life has never been perfect, but in the months since her sister's death it would be an understatement to say that things have gotten worse. With a father that's drowned his problems in a bottle and a mother suffering from a complete mental breakdown, Sunni has had to shoulder the responsibilities and keep the family functioning.

However, all that changes with the arrival of a single yellow letter. With a single note from her sister, Sunni life is suddenly turned upside again with the mysterious reappearance of her dearly departed sister, Jazz. With her family back on track, now all that remains for Sunni is discovering the mystery of Jazz's death and the bigger mystery of her reappearance...

The Good: The work is quite short and probably a good choice for a reluctant reader. The story is also fast-paced...with a fairly surprising ending (so often with YA mysteries, you know the conclusion by about page 5!)

The Bad: I found the story itself to be a little unimaginative. I felt like I had read or seen this storyline somewhere else...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Where is everybody?

Things have been pretty quiet here at ATR lately. That is because two of us are in the process of changing jobs (and one of us has no excuse whatsoever). Starting Monday morning, I will be teaching Reading to high school students who are reading far below their grade level. I am teaching two different Reading classes. One class uses the Read 180 program by Scholastic and the other is using the school's loosely defined curriculum. It will be interesting to see the difference between the two classes and which students benefit more. My bets are on the Read 180 students as they have blocked shedules and therefore have 90 minutes of Reading per day. Scholastic provides all the materials including the books and audiobooks. Many of the books are ones I had in my YA collection at the library and have read and enjoyed myself.
There you have it...my great excuse for being a very poor blogger.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

High School Musical 2

Ok, last night was the Disney Channel premier of High School Musical 2...as I'm sure anyone between the ages of 8-15 knows...and I would like to say that I'm as big of fan of the first movie as any of them! So, I was excited last night to watch the much anticipated sequel, which promised to be one of the biggest 'tween events of the summer. However, it was about 10 minutes into the movie before I realized how wrong Disney was for making this film!

For High School Musical 2, the kids left the hallways of East High School for a summer of hard work in the local country club (think back to when Saved by the Bell did the same thing.) From here, the plot mainly just followed Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) in her attempt to land the most popular boy in school, Troy (Zach Efron).

Now, like the first movie, this one also had elaborate well-choreographed dance numbers....in fact, I would say the dance scenes were much more complex than those of the original...however, unlike the first film, the dance scenes in High School Musical 2 just didn't seem to flow with the "plot" of the movie. I also couldn't help but be disturbed at how none of the actors/actresses seemed to age a minute. What drugs is Disney using to keep those slaves....oh, I mean actors...so young? And are Zach Efron's eyes really that blue???

My advice is to skip High School Musical 2 and just watch the original again!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Anatomy of a Boyfriend and the awesomeness of Ms. Snadowsky

We have mentioned Daria Snadowsky's book, Anatomy of a Boyfriend, several times on this blog. The first time I read the book, I had to request it via interlibrary loan because my library system did not own a copy. After reading it, I decided that I wanted to add it to the YA collection. I sent in the request to Materials Selection. Shortly thereafter, I was informed that my request was being moved to the Adult Gap List because of its mature content. The book ended up not getting ordered at all and I felt a little disgruntled because I knew that the book would have been a great addition to my YA collection.

When Sheryl met Daria in person, she told her the story of her book not getting purchased by our library system. Well, guess what I got in the mail this week? My library's very own copy of Anatomy of a Boyfriend donated by the author herself. How awesome is that?!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eclipse in progress

Ok, I am 3/4 of the way through Eclipse. Trying to read while watching a toddler makes it difficult. In fact, I was sitting on the bathroom floor trying to sneak in a chapter while she bathed and I was so engrossed that I didn't notice her trying to climb out until I heard the splat! and wail! next to me. Mother of the Year right here.

But back to Eclipse. I don't want to put any spoilers on here so I won't go into too many details, but I will say that it definitely isn't as good as Twilight. Don't get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying it, but I think mostly because I have grown to love the characters of Bella, Edward, and Jacob, and I just really want to know what happens. But sometimes the whole passionate, intense love thing gets a bit repetitive. Also, there is a scene in which Jacob and Edward are fighting over Bella and Edward is all "She is mine! She belongs to me!" Um, hello? And Bella doesn't even mind! Clearly, she is not a feminist.

Anyway, Sheryl is also reading Eclipse and I am anxiously awaiting for her to arrive at work so we can compare notes. I am sure she will write a much more thorough (and professional) review here, as well.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Today's Random Thought

I don't know what on earth got me thinking about this, but do you remember that movie with Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis, Pump Up the Volume? The plot outline on IMDB says, "Mark (Christian Slater) runs a pirate radio station and causes an uproar when he speaks his mind and enthralls fellow teens." I was thinking that if this movie were being made or considered today, Mark would probably have a blog instead of a radio program. Although there is something about music and your own voice, so maybe he'd have podcasts instead. But would that really make as good a movie? I can see why Nora/Mathis would be attracted to a radio show, but would a podcast be as sexy? It seems like it might be too "geeky."

On a slightly related note, apparently parents are using facebook pages to call and complain about their children's college roommates. It really is a different world with the Internet.

Monday, August 6, 2007

For Cody

This is for Cody because he LOVED The Black Sheep.

My New BFF

This weekend, I went to La$ Vega$ and I met Daria Snadowsky, author of Anatomy of a Boyfriend (which Holly and I both liked). I'm sure most people find meeting authors really neat, but librarians find meeting authors pretty much on par with meeting celebrities. I'm no exception. It was so very cool. I've been trying to figure out what I should write about the whole experience. I mean, should I focus on my personal experience with it all? Should I write about her speech? What would our legions of readers want, I've been asking myself.

Let me start by describing the weekend's Daria Events. On Friday, she spoke at UNLV where my friend directs this gifted program for high school students. So I got to meet her and listen to her presentation and Q&A with the students about writing and her book. Then we met up for coffee on Saturday (although neither of us were drinking coffee...). We talked for hours, and now I'm going to be the maid of honor at her wedding. Just kidding. She has a sister, so I'm just going to be a bridesmaid. Just kidding again. Seriously, we talked for like 2 hours at the coffee shop, and it was just very neat and Daria is super nice and humble and fun to talk to (kind of like what you'd imagine she'd be like when you read her book).

A few of my personal favorite highlights about her book:

  • Before Daria came, one of the students told us that her mother took the book away from her and hid it. I immediately thought it was because she objected to some of the sexual frankness in the book, but then it turned out that it's because the student "wouldn't stop reading it." I hope those are the kinds of problems I have when I'm a parent.
  • One of the students asked about how she dealt with the rejection letters. She said that when she got her first rejection letter, she went to the mall and bought a pair of Chanel sunglasses. I loved that story because that totally seems like something I would do, console myself with material goods.
  • Daria also talked about how she hated getting this long editorial letter outlining all the things she should change about her book. I think the students were really interested in the entire writing, editing, and publishing process (as am I!), but I found this even more interesting because I wasn't aware of this particular phenomenon of a "letter" until recently. Justine Larbalestier wrote recently about how she loves to get her editorial letter. I think if I were a writer that my reaction would be closer to Daria's because who wants to go through the whole writing process and then face criticism and/or more revisions?

    Okay, there was so much more said, but I hate to just repeat it all. Look back at our earlier online interview for some more fun writing tidbits. I especially like how she describes how much law school helped her to edit her book.

I thought the coolest thing about having this blog was when authors posted comments or did interviews, but this was way cooler. I'll soon be posting my travel schedule so that other YA authors can let me know when they'd like to meet up for coffee when I come to their city.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My "boyfriends"

Ever since I met John Green at TLA, I have referred to him as my boyfriend. I have even referred to him as my boyfriend on A True Reality. It is silly and juvenile, so it is hardly surprising that I felt a little embarrassed when John Green himself visited our blog on one of the days I referred to him as my boyfriend. But, I do not have to feel foolish about it anymore because the Queen of YA Literature, Meg Cabot, also has boyfriends. And she's married, too! So it is perfectly normal. My other boyfriends are Colin Firth and John Cusack. Who are your boyfriends?

p.s. I feel as though I used the term "boyfriend" a ridiculous number of times in this post. Very unseeming for a married woman.