The Compulsive Reader: April 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Geek Abroad by Piper Banks

Miranda Bloom is back again, and headed for London to visit her mother for Christmas. But while she's gone, she hears not a peep from Dex, her impromptu date to the Snowflake Gala. Hurt and confused, she allows Henry, the son of her mom's editor to befriend her during her short stay.

But just when she and Henry are on the verge of becoming more than just friends, she's back at Geek High, and the dreaded MATh competitions are looming ever closer. And to add to that, her stepmother seems to grow more vicious each day, her best friends are fighting, and perhaps Dex isn't quite as Miranda thought. It's going to be a long semester...

Geek Abroad contains just as much fun filled witty banter, embarrassing moments, and genuine teenage angst that made its prequel, Geek High, such a delight to read. Miranda's character becomes more defined, and the problems teens face today, like how to handle a friend who isn't acting like a friend much anymore, arguing parents, and tough academic decisions are handled skillfully. Though Geek Abroad is an endearingly typical teenage read, once you start Geek Abroad, you won't be able to stop. Miranda's wholly original voice is a treat to read.

Cool New Releases

There are some really cool reads that come out today, Like the one to the left. Be sure to check them out!

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

The Compound is all that they have ever known... This one sounds quite mysterious...click here to learn more.

The Temptress Four by Gaby Triana

A bit of an early and fun filled beach read about four best friends!

Better Latte Than Never by Catherine Clark

An old Clark classic re-released under a fun and flirty new title and cover!

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Marr's dark and intriguing faerie tale continues with a fresh set of characters!

Lucky by Rachel Vail

Vail tries her hand with the tween set in this fun novel about three privileged sisters. Click here to read the review.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

When Jenna wakes up, she finds she knows nothing about who she is. She's told she lost her memory from an accident that left her in a coma a year ago. Or did she really lose it?

This is one book that is on my wish list for sure. I loved Pearson's Scribbler of Dreams, and it'll be interesting to see what she does with this one.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Geek High by Piper Banks

Miranda Bloom hates being a math genius. Ever since she was a small child, adults have been asking her incredibly difficult math questions...questions that Miranda has no problem answering. This ability has landed her into Notting Hill Independent School for Gifted Children....more affectionately known as Geek High, where the only thing she's really good at, she hates.

To make matters worse, at the start of her sophomore year, Miranda's mother takes off for London, leaving her to live with her estranged father and his cold wife and her daughter. Then she's blackmailed into being in charge of the school's Snowflake Gala, a job she'd rather avoid, because that means she'll need a date to the event. And unfortunately the only guy she's crushing on has fallen for her materialistic stepsister....

Geek High is an amusing, fun, and light read. Miranda's straightforward and humorous voice is highly entertaining. She's the ideal role model for teens today: fresh, down to earth, intelligent and not afraid to show it. Teens will find themselves relating easily to the characters, and the situation with Miranda's step-family will shake the story up a bit. Don't worry about understanding derivatives or finding pi to the 15th decimal place: Geek High is an entirely absorbing and ideal read for geniuses and us average people alike.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Author Spotlight!

Hey everyone!

Every so often an author comes along that really catches my attention, either through their sense of humor, their creativity, or unique style. Just recently I had the wonderful opportunity to read quite a few of one author’s books that really stood out. Her ability to connect with teens, and her very personal and honest voice came along and knocked me upside the head. It is because of this that I am thrilled to unveil a new feature here on The Compulsive Reader: Author Spotlight.

Our very first author to be featured, Mary Hogan, has written five books for young adults. She grew up in Southern California, and has been an editor for ‘TEEN Magazine, along with doing freelance work for magazines such as Seventeen and Family Circle. She also wrote two TV episodes, though one never made it on the air. She currently lives in New York City.

Mary has written five books for teens, the first of which being The Serious Kiss. Libby Madrigal wants nothing more than an honest to God, bona fide kiss. But that’s easier said than done when the only guy you like is already quite happy with another girl, and your life just keeps getting worse, with no intentions of getting better anytime soon.

Perfect Girl

Ruthie's life is far from perfect with a mom who doesn't understand her, her lack of a father, and a peculiar renter. Then she realizes that she is in love with her best friend, Perry. This revelation is only met with desperation when the perfect girl shows up at school, and has eyes for only Perry. But Ruthie has something that the perfect girl doesn't: a New York City aunt who is famous for being the Love Goddess. With Aunt Marty on her side, Ruthie may just have a fighting chance after all.

Achingly funny and sweet, Perfect Girl is a treat to read. By no means does Ruthie have a "normal" life, but her thoughts, emotions, and actions are those that all of us recognize. Hogan's eye for teens is dead on, and her characters are humorous, yet very human. The book deals with more than just self image issues, giving it a degree of reality that will engage scores of readers. You'll be delighted that you picked up Perfect Girl as Ruthie discovers that before you can become the Goddess of Love, you have to learn how to be the Goddess of Loving Yourself.

The Susanna Series

If there is anyone who can coax readers to feel empathetic for a girl who spends her summer vacation working for the most exclusive celebrity gossip magazine, it’s Mary Hogan!

In Susanna Sees Stars, Susanna Barringer has landed that ultimate summer job: an internship at Scene, one of the hottest celeb gossip magazines. Her new employer is impressed with her intelligence, but that doesn't mean Susanna is in for anything more exciting than finding the exact shade of pollen yellow eye shadow for her boss, or perfecting the Starbucks run. Or will her sharp wits and fierce determination propel her to unimaginable heights?

Susanna Sees Stars is a whirl of excitement, name-dropping, and pure fun that will whisk readers away. Hogan keeps it real by giving Susanna distinct and personable qualities that ensure her character is a grounded one, and her smarts and crazy antics will ensnare readers while at the same time giving the plot line flair. This enjoyable, unpretentious, and substantial novel is a The Devil Wears Prada for the teenage set.

Also, check out the sequel Susanna Hits Hollywood (I am especially excited to read this one!) in which Susanna gets the opportunity to cover the Academy Awards!

In the third book, Susanna Covers the Catwalk, Susanna will cover Fashion Week! It will be out in October, and the fourth book, Susanna Falls In Love…In London will hit stores in 2009!

And finally last, but certainly not least, Mary Hogan’s latest from HarperTeen, Pretty Face.

Hayley eats to rebel against her Tofu-Queen mother, and for comfort against the many harsh cruelties that a girl who isn't stick thin and lives in Southern California is subjected to. She knows she has a problem, but she doesn't know how to stop. After resisting her mother's numerous and oftentimes humiliating attempts at helping her, her parents decide she needs a change of scenery, and sends her to stay with her mother's college friend, Patrice, in Italy. Hayley resolves not to take up her bad habits with her, but she will learn that sometimes well laid plans don't always go as they are supposed to, and the best thing to do is live your life, at times with unexpected results.

Pretty Face reads with an unexpected raw honesty that will strike a chord in nearly every girl. Hayley is self deprecating, but in a way that makes her entirely likable. Her truthful and edgy voice pulls the reader in, from her highly descriptive imagery of Italy, to her insightful reasoning and thoughts on being a teenager today. Though the setting seems unbelievable, this story is unique from start to finish, and full of reality. Hayley's witty, rousing and heartfelt journey to self confidence is one that will be certain to inspire.

Be sure to check out each and every one of Mary’s books! You’ll laugh, cry, and won’t be sorry that you did! And as a part of the new Author Spotlight feature, Mary has graciously (and bravely!) agreed to answer any (and we do mean ANY) question that you may have for her, on any topic. So start sending them in! Either comment below, or email them to me at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com by Wednesday, April 30th, and Mary will answer them in a special interview on Friday! Go ahead…ask Mary ANYTHING!

P.S. Congrats to Min W. from Texas, Breanna F. from Washington, Ellen B. from Indiana, Grace L. from California, and Jennifer J. from Utah for winning a copy of How to be Popular! Your books will go out soon!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April Book of the Month: Chat With Jennifer E. Smith

Hey there! This week, I've opened up the message boards, and Jennifer E. Smith will be stopping by all day long to chat! So please go and check it out, even if it is just to say hi! Click here to chat.

Also, congratulations to the winners of April's Book of the Month contest, Teresa W., and Cindi H.! Your prizes will be in the mail soon!

Thanks again guys!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab

Matisse can't help but feel bitter when her mother moves her and her father, who has a debilitating disease, away from their wonderful home in New York City, to Prague, New York, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Stuck in a high school whose name she can't even pronounce, without any friends, and nothing to do is miserable for Matisse. People either want to talk about her dad (which Matisse isn't ready to do), or pretend everything is fine (Matisse knows it isn't). But if Matisse wants to make in Prague, she'll have to learn to open up to new things and people, and accept her situation at hand.

Alive and Well in Prague, New York was a very heartfelt read. Grab's smooth, empathetic writing will easily reel in readers by the hordes as she artfully portrays the hurt of everyone knowing your business in a small town, and the joy of true friends. Matisse is smart, practical, and yet very hard headed. Your heart will go out to her as she tries to balance school, friends (or lack thereof), and the situation at home. Grab captures the essence of small town life perfectly; quirky, quintessential, and endearing, Prague will appeal mightily to readers who have ever been curious about small town life, or to those who know exactly what it's like, and can easily commiserate and identify with with Matisse.

Alive and Well in Prague, New York will be available June 3rd, 2008 from HarperTeen!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Twelve Long Months by Brian Malloy

Molly is a bit of a nerd. She has a full scholarship to Columbia in New York City, and is obsessed with school, physics…and Mark Dahl. Mark is her gorgeous lab partner, and the love of her life. He just doesn't realize it yet. And at the close of their senior year in their tiny Minnesota town, Molly despairs of ever seeing him again. But she is shocked and delighted to find that he is moving to New Jersey, and knows that they are meant to be.

But Molly isn't in New York very long before she finds out Mark's secret. He's gay. And no one but Molly knows. Suddenly their relationship shifts wildly, and Molly finds herself trying to be just a friend to the guy she was sure she was meant to be with, while at the same time trying to mend her broken heart.

Twelve Long Months chronicles Molly and Mark's relationship beautifully. Told from Molly's point of view, it is a vivid look at what happens when suddenly your dreams and expectations collide with real life, and how you can pick up the pieces in order to move on. Molly's voice rings true, and you'll empathize with her as she struggles to make her way through her first year of college, and balance friends, work, and a love life. Malloy’s writing is very effective and personal. His ability to reach out to the reader and make that strong connection between protagonist and audience is remarkable. Twelve Long Months is a well drawn out, gratifying, and very humorous read that will especially appeal to anyone who has ever understood the heartbreak of a crush.

This book will be available from Scholastic June 1st, 2008!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand by Louise Hawes

I have to reveal to you an obsession of mine. It's in the form of re-told fairy tales. I can't get enough of them. I am addicted especially to this series (can't wait for Belle and The Crimson Thread!), and I recently bought this book and am chomping at the bit to read it. This is probably one of the best unlikely tales to be retold, and I would HIGHLY reccomend it to anyone. Anyone. These types of books are my weakness.

And so, imagine my delight when I received Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand by Louise Hawes.

Have you ever longed for a fairy tale that wasn't riddled with silliness and foolish princesses and princes? Or one that held greater meaning and depth than those tales your mother told you when you were a child? Black Pearls is what you have been looking for. These seven tales are far different than those that you remember hearing, but eerily similar at the same time. Why was Rapunzel kept in that tower? Did Hansel and Gretel really make it out of that gingerbread house alive? What was the real purpose behind Lady Godiva's shocking ride? You'll learn the secrets, and much more, in this book.

Black Pearls is spellbinding. Each and every wonderfully crafted story is stunning, and just as enrapturing, inviting, and exquisite as the next. This sophisticated collection reveals the complexity and deeper nature of each tale, and will especially appeal to those who ever wondered about the practicalities of each classic story. Anyone who has out-grown the childish fancies that fairy tales are notorious for, but not the tales themselves, will fall in love with this book, and the more mature content will add to its appeal. Hawes has a way of highlighting the intricacies of human emotions and relationships, making Black Pearls a bold, brilliant read.

Cross your fingers in hopes that Ms. Hawes will write a companion with even more stunning retellings!

Black Pearls will be released from Houghton Mifflin in May!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Broken Moon by Kim Antieau

Nadira's life is set out for her. As a young woman in modern day Pakistan with a dreadful scar on her face, punishment for a crime committed by her eldest brother, she has little hope for marriage. Instead, she works hard as a maid and cooks for a good family, and gives all that she saves to her mother and young brother Umar. Umar adores Nadira, and is the only one who does not view her scar as something despicable. But then one day Umar disappears, kidnapped by men who would train him in the dangerous ways of a camel jockey, With little hope of the police finding him, Nadira cuts her hair and dares to follow him, using all of her skill and chai in order to survive the cruel and tragic way of life and bring her brother home safely.

Broken Moon is mesmerizing. Though virtually unheard of, camel jockeying is portrayed in a frank fashion, without shying around the horrors of it: abuse, starvation, injury, and death. But yet this story isn't all dismal. It's full of hope and courage as Nadira, intelligent and resourceful, bravely disregards the standards her society has set for women and forges her own way in this new world. Though readers may feel impatient for the action, they won't be disappointed if they stick through with the book. Broken Moon is an uplifting and empowering read.

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Every 15th birthday in the Martin family is special. It is at this age that each of the Martin children has received suites in the family's Hopewell Hotel that they are responsible for. And on her birthday, Scarlett receives the Empire Suite, along with its new permanent guest, Mrs. Amberson. Mrs. Amberson is unconventional, exasperating, and demanding, and Scarlett resents that because of her, she can't get a regular summer job. But when Mrs. Amberson saves Scarlett's brother Spencer's show, a rendition of Hamlet, from certain disbandment, and insists on being a part of it, Scarlett doesn't quite mind so much. It would certainly bring her a lot closer to Eric, who is astonishingly good looking and just happens to be a part of the cast...

Suite Scarlet is quirky, fun, and oh so hilarious. Johnson's trademark engaging writing style, subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) humor, and intelligent lexicon will not fail to captivate readers once again. It's wonderfully refreshing to read about siblings that actually like each other, but are every bit as dysfunctional as the next family. The dynamics between Scarlett and Spencer especially are a delight to read, and their characters are wonderfully pragmatic and expressive. Mrs. Amberson is a sort of insane and intriguing enigma whose eccentricities and antics add just the right amount of pizzazz to the plot. Throw in each of the carefully presented details, from avid descriptions of Scarlett's family and friends, and crazy theatrical catastrophes, to bits of trivia from throughout the lives of the Martin family, and you have a comprehensive look at Scarlett's life, forging a connection between reader and protagonist that you won't want to sever...and you want have to; a sequel is already in the works. The release of Suite Scarlett has only reinforced Johnson’s status as one of the top YA authors out there today.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April Book of the Month: From the Author!

The author of our Book of the Month, Jennifer E. Smith works in publishing, and she's here today to tell us all the details about what goes on in order to make a manuscript a book!

One of the things people find most mystifying about the publishing process is why it takes so long for a manuscript to become a book. In addition to being a writer, I also work as an Associate Editor at a publishing house, and so I get to see the process from both angles. There’s a lot that happens in order to turn a stack of pages into a hard rectangular object, so I thought I’d walk through it briefly, and if anyone has any questions, you can post them in the comments, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Since it seems like the whole agent thing has been fairly well covered – most of you know about query letters, etc – I’ll just start with what happens once your agent has sold your manuscript to an editor. In an ideal situation, the whole process – from the sale to the shelf – should take a little less than a year. However, sometimes there are situations when books are “rushed” or “crashed” – produced on a sped-up schedule – in order to get the book out at a certain time, i.e. when there are newsworthy or timely events that might coincide with the publication. But it typically takes more like nine months to a year.

Some books are bought from proposals, some from partial manuscripts, and some from full drafts. Depending on how complete yours is when it’s sold to a publishing house, the editor will get right to work on it. It’s their job to shape the big ideas of the book, to help guide you in things like pacing, structure, and character development. They’re the ones who revise and mold the book to make sure it lives up to its potential.

Once they’re done, the manuscript gets transmitted into production, where it first gets copyedited (smaller level revisions to correct grammar, punctuation, consistency, etc.), and then typeset (so that it looks like an actual book and not a homework assignment). Once it’s typeset, the manuscript will go through several different versions or passes, some of which the author will get to see in order to make further corrections. There will be early galley copies bound from one of these passes, which will be sent as advanced reader’s editions to reviewers and booksellers and others who might spread the word about your book. Meanwhile, the art department has been working on the cover design, the interior designer has been laying out the text, and the marketing and publicity departments have been making plans to get your book out into the world. Your editor has been writing up catalog copy for the sales force, as well as jacket copy to go on the back of the book, and the sales team has been gearing up to launch the title to buyers.

So while it seems like a long process, there’s actually a whole lot going on behind the scenes to get the book off your computer and into the hands of readers!

How to be Popular by Meg Cabot

Steph Landry certainly wouldn't be classified as popular. The entire popular group at school hates her for something that was an accident. Her mom isn't too awful happy with her right now due to the fact that she's still talking to her grandfather, who sold land to developers, thus putting the family business in jeopardy. But Steph's determination to be well liked is in full throttle when she finds a book with detailed instructions on how to become popular. But it might get her more than she bargained for...

How to be Popular is yet another one of Cabot's many novels that capture the angst, vibrancy, and drama of teenage life perfectly. Though it may seem like Steph's instant popularity is a bit of a fluke, this is a novel that caters to both sides, as Steph realizes that popularity with the "In Crowd" may be fun, but is not the greener side of the pasture, and that being well liked among her own group of friends and people she actually likes is way more important. Besides the story being lively and entertaining, the advice that Steph follows is helpful and on the ball, and will appeal to the readers as much as the story does, creating yet another fun and instantly likable novel for the scads of Cabot fans.

Want a copy of your own? Be sure to enter the contest! I've set a deadline for next Friday, April 25th, at midnight, Eastern Standard Time. Click here to learn how you can enter!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mercy, Unbound by Kim Antieau

Mercy can't seem to make her parents understand that her refusal to eat isn't anorexia or bulimia, or any other sort of eating disorder. She simply doesn't need to eat. Because only when she stops eating completely will she finally turn into an angel, and can help correct the world's many problems.

But when her parents ignore her wishes, despite the fact that Mercy claims to feel her wings, and take her to a treatment center, Mercy becomes frightened. The other girls are really sick, and their thoughts and ideas on food scare her, and when tragedy strikes, Mercy's resolutions and beliefs about her condition will be put to the test.

Mercy, Unbound was a peculiar, yet very absorbing read. It neither bashes nor condones eating disorders, but is instead a look at one girl's struggle to overcome the crushing feelings of helplessness as to how to solve the world's many problems. Packed full of pop culture references, allusions to great works of literature, historical facts, and many modern social problems, this is a read for the slightly more mature and well read teen. Despite this fact, story moves fluidly rather than didactically, flitting between Mercy's point of view and her diary entries, making the account of her experience more personal, but also a testament to Antieau's remarkable writing abilities as she seamlessly weaves words together to create a read that will engulf the reader entirely.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Anyone Want to Help Out A Fellow Reader?

This request may be a strange one, but is there anyone out there who would be willing to loan or even trade me Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood or Geek High by Piper Banks? I received a package in the mail today containing both of these books' sequels, and I'd love to read the first books before I get into the ones I received today. If we did a loan, I promise that I'd get the books back to you within 2-3 weeks at the very most. If trading is more your thing, let me know, and I'll give you my list of books available. Please email me at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com if you'd like to work something out. Thanks a bunch!


Ordinary Me by June Sproat

Like any other new and inexperienced Driver's Ed student, Kate is nervous about getting on the road. Her apprehension only increases exponentially when she gets caught between the police chasing an escaped criminal, and ends up stopping him herself. She is suddenly one of the most popular girls over night, and the guy she likes is paying attention to her. Unfortunately for Kate, he's not the only one...a stalker is looming closer and closer...

Sproat takes what could be a ho-hum run of the mill plot and jazzes it up by adding a subtle element of danger. Kate's real friends' reactions are reasonable and plausible, as is their refreshing willingness to forgive her. Though Kate may seem a little childish at times, this is a fun, engaging book with an unexpected twist at the end that will delight readers.
Visit June Sproat's site here!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Day I Killed James by Catherine Ryan Hyde

The only reason Theresa asks James out is because she wants to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. And even though she knows she probably shouldn't give James, who adores her, any ideas, they go to the party together anyway. But then the situation at the party gets out of hand and James commits suicide. Theresa is wracked with overwhelming guilt, and unable to handle it, tries to run away--from her life, and the pain.

This surreal novel is indelible. It will cling stubbornly to your memory, and will refuse to be shaken free. The plotline is wonderfully drawn out, and the characters fallible and familiar. Each one is unique, expressive, and entirely candid. Theresa's journal entries are interspersed throughout the course of the novel, giving it immense depth and significance. In this gripping, exquisite, and uplifting multi faceted read, Catherine Ryan Hyde is at her very best, forcing you to re-examine exactly how deep and powerful love is, along with the disappointments and wonders that come with it.
This book will be available from Random Teen May 13th, 2008.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Heads Up

Hey guys, here are a few interesting things I've found today:

Remember the Audrey, Wait! review? Well, besides today being the book's release day, there are a few cool sites to check out to go along with it--one even has a majorly cool contest. Click here to visit Audrey's site, and here for the contest (let me know if you enter!)

Wake by Lisa McMann is now a New York Times Bestseller! Yay! Also, it's now in it's THIRD printing! That's amazing news!

And to celebrate, Elizabeth Scott is now adding another element to her Perfect You contest! (You all remember Perfect You, right?) Now if you enter before April 13, you'll also be entered in a drawing to win one of five copies of Wake! Go to her blog for details.

Are you a writer? If so, you might want to check out this agent's blog, where she talks about trends in YA literature.

Wanna win a signed copy of The Boy Book by E. Lockhart? Then head on over to Melissa Walker's blog for contest details!

Also, it's come to my attention that I didn't specify a dealine for the How to be Popular contest. Well, so far, just keep the entries coming. I'll be sure to let you all know in advance on the deadline when I set one. For now, I'm having some fun reading your responses. If you can't come up with a response to the question, or don't feel comfortable telling me, then just tell me about something interesting instead. Click here for contest details.

Read on,


Interview With Jennifer E. Smith!

For this week's Book of the Month features, Jennifer E. Smith has graciously agreed to ask your questions, plus more! So go ahead and read on!

Is baseball a passion for you? If not, how did you decide to write about this sport?

Not to give away too much, but did you ever know anyone who was in the same position as Nick?

There’s a line in the book where Ryan says that she’s not a baseball fan, she’s a Cubs fan. This is exactly how I feel. If you were to ask me who the best pitcher in the American League is, I’d have no clue. If you wanted to know who won the World Series in 1978, all I could tell you is that it certainly wasn’t the Cubs. I think baseball is a great sport, and there are very few ways I’d rather spend the afternoon than at a ballpark. But I’m pretty much only a Cubs fan, and always have been.

And as for your second question, the answer is yes, unfortunately.

How long did it take you to write The Comeback Season?

It only took about six months from beginning to end.

How did this story come about?

I was watching the Cubs lose for about the millionth time one night, and when I flipped to another channel, the movie “Fever Pitch” was on. It got me thinking about how Cubs fans have an equally tragic history, and how they deserve to have their story told too, and then the image of Ryan sitting on the train on her way to the ballpark just sort of popped into my head. I didn’t know what would happen next, but that first scene came to me so clearly, that I just sat down and started to write.

You had some very rich and interesting characters in The Comeback Season. Was there any one that was harder to write and develop than the others, or any one character that was easier to write?

I think Ryan was the easiest to write, just because she’s probably the most like me. Our lives and circumstances and situations are very different, of course, but the way she reacts to situations is pretty much the way I’d react, and so I was already inside her head to a certain extent. The hardest ones to write were probably the other girls, especially Lucy, since they weren’t always all that nice, but it was also kind of fun figuring out what they’d do or say next.

Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a bit about it?

Yes, another YA book called You Are Here, about a boy and a girl who come from different backgrounds and seem like complete opposites, until they get thrown together on a sort of haphazard road trip, and find out they’re a lot more similar than they thought. It’ll be out in Summer 2009.

Okay, here's a fun little exercise for you. Name your favorite book in each of the following categories:

Adult: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Young Adult: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Childrens: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Science Fiction: The Road by Cormac McCarthy (this is a stretch, but I don’t really read science fiction!)

Historical Fiction: The March by E.L. Doctorow

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you or your book?

It’s available in stores now! (Just kidding.) (Sort of.)

Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?

Do you think that in spite of their 100-year losing streak, the Cubs are the best team in baseball? Why yes, yes I do! Thanks so much for asking!

Thanks so much!

Thank you!

If you haven't already, be sure to enter this month's drawing to win a copy of The Comeback Season! Click here to find out how to enter!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Kate's sophomore year hasn't been the best so far. Her only close friend has stopped speaking her after she lost 90 pounds and made friends with the popular crowd. Her father quits his job to sell cheesy, overpriced vitamins, and money is so tight that her wealthy nightmare of a grandmother moves in, causing even more tension at home.

Her whole life seems to be falling apart around her, but strangely enough, obnoxious Will Miller seems to be paying quite a lot of attention to Kate. But is he looking for an actual relationship or just another meaningless hook-up for which he is notorious for?

Here is a novel full of loyalty, laughter, anger, and tears. Every sort of insecure feeling that you've ever felt is artfully channeled through Perfect You in such a way that each and every reader can make an instant connection with Kate. Her fears, hopes, and expectations are tangible and are those that you can easily empathize with, making her triumphs over each insecurity all the more satisfying. Scott's portrayal of first love is confusing, exhilarating, and refreshing, and readers will delight in the verbal sparring between Kate and Will as they try to find a happy medium. This is the type of novel that will cause you to smile just as quickly as it will make you sad. Wholesome and substantial, Perfect You is as real as it gets.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

When Audrey made the decision to dump Evan, she never imagined that millions of people would soon know about it. But then Audrey, Wait!, the song Evan wrote about the break-up, is suddenly leaping up the charts, and making Evan's band wildly popular virtually overnight, Audrey has more attention than she can handle. Mobbed by reporters, fans, and fake friends, she can barely attend school, much less move on with her love life and start dating again. All anyone knows is what the paparazzi report. Now it's time for Audrey to take matters into her own hands.

Audrey's story is laugh out loud funny and chocked full of her crazy, fun filled escapades. Audrey herself has a sardonically appealing wit about her that makes her an instant hit, and is honest, confident, and yet still quite human. Her thoughts and vivid wording are what make that connection between the protagonist and reader. Though the book is lengthy, the plot moves at a brisk pace, and each chapter is preceded by sing lyrics from a wide variety of artists throughout the ages. This is a hilarious, wise, and immensely inviting read that anyone would be willing to rock out to.

You can get this book from Razorbill beginning April 10th, 2008!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Screwball by Keri Mikulski

In the spirit of spring and April's baseball themed Book of the Month, here's is another fantastic sports read!

Ashley Clarke knows what it's like to be under pressure. She's an athlete that plays on three different sports teams during the school year. That, on top of school work and trying to have a social life, keeps her awfully busy. And it only adds up when Ashley gets a boyfriend and feels pressured to spend more time with him, in between dodging Christy, a teammate who seems to hate her without reason. Ashley will have to find a way to juggle everything that's going on, and at the same time stay true to herself—something a lot easier said than done.

This novel speaks sports. Though dense with sports talk, strategy, and suspense, Screwball will appeal to both athletes and non-sports players alike. Ashley is tough, determined, and yet appropriately girly at the same time, making her someone that high school girls especially can relate to. This is one book ideal for the reluctant reader who lives and breathes any sort of sport. You don't need to go to the big game to experience all that fun and excitement—just grab some peanuts and this fast paced and entertaining read!

Friday, April 4, 2008

I Am a Guinea Pig

If you are an astute and cunning reader, you may have noticed that The Compulsive Reader has taken on a few new gadgets. It's all because Blogger sent me a nice little email asking if I would try out a few of their new features that are still in beta stage. And since I am accustomed to subjecting myself to these types of confusing technological things, I said yes. The things I do for you, I know.

I was expecting some frustration, at least two phone calls, one email, and an IM to some nerd friends of mine in order to get these spiffy new features to work. But no! Blogger Draft has made these wonderfully fun new features FOOL PROOF. So even the most technologically un-savvy person can run their own website. Without exasperating her computer genius friends. I love you, Blogger.

So now, if you scroll down to the bottom of all the little fun things to the left, there is now a search box! I was quite thrilled with this, as I am a little tired of people not going to the ARCHIVED REVIEWS link under all of the review listings and looking for the review they want in the convienantly alphabetized list of books that just happen to be hyperlinked to bring you straight to the review you seek, and the emailing me saying, "WHERE DID THAT REVIEW OF NOT ANYTHING GO?" No! Instead, all you have to do is type what you want into the box, and scroll to the top for results! How cool is that?

Also, right below the search box, you can subscribe to The Compulsive Reader. That way, whenever I update, or when someone posts a comment, you'll know about it. This makes it a lot easier to check for updates.

Since I am being Blogger's guinea pig, these new features aren't all the way complete. They might still have some kinks that need to be worked out. Email me at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com if you experience any problems or something's not working so I can let the awesome folks who power Blogger know.

Thanks guys!


P.S. So my friend gave me this nifty little stat counter thingamabob that counts how many hits this site gets. I think it's rigged...it says that I have like 120 hits, but it's been less than 24 hours since I put it up! Am I really this popular, or should I find a new stat counter? I'd really like it to be the former. Either way, if you are reading this, THANKS FOR READING! You guys are AWESOME!

Singing Hands by Delia Rey

Gussie Davis never meant to be disrespectful by humming aloud in church. She was just tired of trying to follow the sermon. And besides, no one noticed. How could they, when everyone is deaf? But when an unexpected visitor--one that CAN hear--gets her into trouble with her deaf parents, it will set Gussie on a path that will teach her love, acceptance, respect, and most of all, integrity.

Delia Rey's Singing Hands reveals the prejudice that those who were without hearing were exposed to in the 1940's, and how resilient and resourceful they became. Very well researched, it is a testament of how cruel and unforgiving the land of the free can be to those who are different. Gussie is caught between two worlds, the hearing one, and the deaf one, and her struggle to find her place is realized through her escapades that will entertain, sadden, and inspire readers as Gussie finally learns that she can embrace one world without rejecting the other.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How to Salsa in a Sari by Dona Sarkar

Issa Mazumder is African-American and Indian and proud of it. She's been living with her Indian mother ever since her father walked out on them five years earlier, and when her mother announces that she is getting remarried, Issa couldn't be more horrified. To make matters even more unbearable, her mom is marrying Cat Morena's father. Cat has it out for Issa fro ages--to the extent of stealing her boyfriend just to spite her. Issa will do all it takes to keep her mother from marrying into Cat's family--even if that might mean stooping to Cat's level.

How to Salsa in a Sari is far from being your run-of-the-mill teen novel. Sarkar breathes a new and vivacious life into this classic plot. Issa is a smart and dynamite character, and the diverse cast will appeal greatly to what is becoming an equally diverse teenage audience. It is their intense humanity and their conflicts that stand out in this novel. Throw in a carefully measured dose of materialism and those miserable, honest mess-ups that are part of the package of growing up, all wrapped up with the perfect imperfect ending, and you’ll find that How to Salsa in a Sari is a stellar, vibrant, and beguiling read that you won’t want to let go of. It is novels of this caliber that are growing ever popular among the teenage set, and will soon dominate the genre.

April Book of the Month: The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

Hey there! Well, April is here, the snow has finally melted (hallelujah!) and summer is on its way! What better time than now to highlight a great new read from newcomer to YA Jennifer E. Smith? The Comeback Season is a heartfelt novel that anyone will love!

Five years ago, Ryan's father died, and since then she's felt as if she's been living life in a fog, never truly awake. All that changes on opening day of the Chicago Cubs' season, when she finds herself skipping school and on a train headed to watch the game. Here is where she feels her father the most, eagerly cheering on the worst team in the league, and making that timeless bargain of "If the Cubs win, then..." Here is where she also meets Nick, new to her school. Nick shares her passion for baseball and the Cubs, and soon the two are fast friends, and maybe even more. But do they have the courage to look beyond what may happen and live their lives the way they want?

Smith takes a deep look at death at how the human spirit deals with the tragedy in this novel. Ryan is an admirable character and the reader will find themselves empathizing, crying, and rejoicing with her as this beautiful story unfolds. Though some readers might find the thorough history of the Chicago Cubs team history dull, it is cleverly interspersed throughout the book so as not to slow down the story. The Comeback Season is a heartwarming mix of love and acceptance, life and death, and humor and sadness that you will not soon forget. Jennifer E. Smith is definitely an author to watch.

Jennifer E. Smith has been kind enough to join us this month to get the word out about The Comeback Season. She’ll be here throughout April with interviews, tips, and more. Have a question about The Comeback Season that you’d like to ask? Comment below or email me with your question, and she’ll answer in next week’s interview!

And if that weren’t enough, you can also enter for a chance to win your own copy of The Comeback Season! Just email your name, address, and an email where I can reach you, to thecompulsivereader@gmail.com with THE COMEBACK SEASON in the subject heading, and I’ll throw your name in! All entries must be in by April 23, 2008 at midnight, Eastern Time. Winners will be picked notified on the 24th! Good luck!

If you haven’t already, be sure to go get your copy of The Comeback Season! Click here to buy one!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I Need YOUR Help!

I have a problem. A BIG one. You need to help me with this. You see, something came today. It looks like this.

Do not be fooled. This box is not as innocent as it looks.

It appeared on my front porch like magic, but I was not fooled. I caught a glimpse of the UPS delivery guy. (It was the cute one).

And so, wondering what treasures this box may contain, with kitchen scissors in hand, I went to work opening it, and found...

I was dazzled by the light glinting from these very shiny covers.

Yes! Five copies of Meg Cabot's latest paperback release, How to Be Popular! And, like the hardcover edition, they retained their shiny silver foil appeal! All the wonder and goodness of the hardcover, but in a nice, soft, and more affordable package!


My shelf already houses How to be Popular.

I now have my own copy of How to be Popular! I have no need for five more copies! This is a problem! What should I do with these five copies? And so, I had to call upon the help and advice of friends across the world. We came up with a few solutions.

1) Build a sculpture with them and call it modern art.
2) Give them to wayward celebrities.
3) Hide them randomly in ladies restrooms
4) Give them to afore mentioned friends across the world.
5) Hold a contest.

Well, since modern art is creepy, celebrities have lots of money and can go buy their own copies of these new and affordable books, girls aren't the only ones who like Meg Cabot and I can't go into boys bathrooms, and these afore mentioned friends aren't in the best of favor seeing as they left me to travel across the world this Spring Break, the obvious option was #5, A CONTEST!

So I have a question for you. What have you done in order to be more well liked or popular? Was it something crazy or sensible? The best decision ever, or something you regret? You don't have to go into detail, but go ahead and email me at thecompulsivereader@gmail.com with HOW TO BE POPULAR in the subject heading, with your answer, along with your name, email, and address and I'll enter you in the drawing to win a copy of How to be Popular! Sound like a fair deal to you? Can you do this for me, and help me find homes for these books?

Go ahead, it's really easy and painless!

Read My Lips by Teri Brown

For Serena Nelson, fitting in has never been easy, but it was possible. A punk skater at heart, she had her own niche of like minded friends who didn't mind that she was deaf. Serena's talents for lip reading are excellent, and allow her to live a pretty normal life. But when she moves to a small town, the preps in her new school see her talent as something to profit off of, and use Serena to get the juiciest gossip, enticing her with a membership into a secret sorority and the promise of fitting in. But will her so called friends go too far?

Read My Lips is an attention grabbing page turner. Serena is a smart and edgy narrator, who is quite normal despite her condition, and doesn't seek attention because of it. Her desire to fit in is something that we can all empathize with, and the lengths that she goes to do so are relatable. But it's how she fights back and overcomes those that belittle her that makes Read My Lips such a compelling and quick read. Read My Lips is a delightful mix of complex characters, biting wit, and the angst that comes with making new friends.

Read My Lips will be released from Simon Pulse on June 3, 2008.

Perfect Girl by Mary Hogan

Ruthie's life is far from perfect with a mom who doesn't understand her, her lack of a father, and a peculiar renter. Then she realizes that she is in love with her best friend, Perry. This revelation is only met with desperation when the perfect girl shows up at school, and has eyes for only Perry. But Ruthie has something that the perfect girl doesn't: a New York City aunt who is famous for being the Love Goddess. With Aunt Marty on her side, Ruthie may just have a fighting chance after all.

Achingly funny and sweet, Perfect Girl is a treat to read. By no means does Ruthie have a "normal" life, but her thoughts, emotions, and actions are those that all of us recognize. Hogan's eye for teens is dead on, and her characters are humorous, yet very human. The book deals with more than just self image issues, giving it a degree of reality that will engage scores of readers. You'll be delighted that you picked up Perfect Girl as Ruthie discovers that before you can become the Goddess of Love, you have to learn how to be the Goddess of Loving Yourself.

Price of Admission by Leslie Margolis

As a studio head’s daughter, Jasmine Green's seemingly perfect life is just a facade for some very serious problems. Despite her cushy home, endless resources, and fancy cars, Jasmine's father is completely absorbed with his job, her brother is having an affair with their stepmother, and Jasmine herself is dating two guys at once. When one these guys dies, his screenplay is found in his apartment, and is sold to Jasmine's father's company. The only problem? It's really Jasmine's screenplay, and it's the story of her life. Every lurid detail.

Price of Admission is a gripping, galvanizing, and outstanding novel that explores the depths of family loyalty as Jasmine does all it takes to keep her family's dirty little secrets from being revealed. This novel doesn't fail to meet expectations, and Jasmine's clear and expressive voice is authentic. Rather than make excuses for her actions, she learns to face them, making her a character that no one can resist. The colorful cast of expressive and fallible characters make this lively and full of attitude read that will steal your attention away and won't release you until the credits roll.

Susanna Sees Stars by Mary Hogan

Susanna Barringer has landed that ultimate summer job: an internship at Scene, one of the hottest celeb gossip magazines. Her new employer is impressed with her intelligence, but that doesn't mean Susanna is in for anything more exciting than finding the exact shade of pollen yellow eye shadow for her boss, or perfecting the Starbucks run. Or will her sharp wits and fierce determination propel her to unimaginable heights?

Susanna Sees Stars is a whirl of excitement, name-dropping, and pure fun that will whisk readers away. Hogan keeps it real by giving Susanna distinct and personable qualities that ensure her character is a grounded one, and her smarts and crazy antics will ensnare readers while at the same time giving the plotline flair. This enjoyable, unpretentious, and substantial novel is a The Devil Wears Prada for the teenage set.

Be sure to look for the sequel, Susanna Hits Hollywood, in stores next week!

Like Mary Hogan? Check out her other books, The Serious Kiss, Perfect Girl, and Pretty Face!