Saturday, May 31, 2008
Each of these characters will speak to the reader as their story unfolds. The writing is straightforward and perceptive, from Clark's funny and fast paced style to Hopkins's beautiful and striking poems. This is one book that holds a powerful message between its two covers: heartbreak happens, and along with it is something better if you can let go and continue to move forward.
You might also want to check out Audrey, Wait! and Prom Nights From Hell!
Isn't this cover just the greatest? It's the first time I've ever seen it, and I absolutely love it! I like how the chessboard sort of fades out into the background. I'd reccomend that you pre-order your copy soon....they're bound to go fast!
In Your Room was surprisingly candid and refreshingly humorous and human. The story is fast paced, and Fraiberg's clever writing downplays the predictability of the plot, forcing you to look at the novel with new eyes. Molly is an unpretentious character, but yet she has slightly selfish feelings about her mother's new marriage, and Charlie, despite being thoughtful, imaginative, and funny, has his faults as well. It's these imperfections in the lead characters that lend to the plot twists in order to In Your Room an enjoyable, quick, and relaxing read that you'll want to visit again and again.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
And then there's the case of Stephen Glass, reporter for The New Republic, who invented multiple details, facts, people, places, and even events to support his stories and make them more interesting. He wanted the perfect quote for his stories, but didn't have it. So he made one up.
The slacker in us thinks, Well, what's wrong with that? What's wrong with voicing the opinions of a bunch of people, even if no one person said it exactly?
I hear that there's something like only 32 possible plotlines for stories, and yet there are millions of books out there. So there's gotta be coincidences and resemblences in there somewhere, right? So where should the line be drawn?
I believe that it is the writer that makes each and every novel unique and different: their style, their choice of words, the way that they express their characters and their experiences. There is a difference between quoting colloquialisms and copying a phrase coined by your favorite writer and passing it off as original work, and anyone who has to question the difference shouldn't be writing. Each writer is inimitible, their work sacred. To blatantly copy, or even paraphrase, is a gross violation against that writer.
But true writers have their responsibilities too. They have a duty to be honest when it comes to their work. It is perfectly all right to embellish stories, to make up characters and scenarios, as long as it is understood that the work is fiction. To market a fictional piece of work as truth is dishonest, and insulting to the readers. I've known many an author who has taken experiences and situations from their own lives and incorporated them into their writing, myself included. Writing is a medium of expression, and by creating a fictional piece and trying to pass it off as reality would be deceiving yourself.
So what do you think? How far do the boundaries between common ideas and plagiarism extend? When does it go from being slightly exxagerated to outrightlies?
Well, first of all, I just want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Susane Colasanti for agreeing to visit this month, and a big thanks to all the readers who commented, asked questions, and promised to buy copies of When It Happens and Take Me There (which comes out TODAY!). You guys rock the book world.
Now congrats to Erica H. for winning a copy of When It Happens, and Angie T. for winning a copy Take Me There! Your prizes will go out in the mail soon!
Thanks again, and be sure to grab yourselves a copy of When It Happens, and Take Me There!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Lock and Key is a very vivid, honest, and poignant book. Each scene and situation is realistically portrayed, and moves at a good, steady clip. Dessen's trademark style of gathering scattered bits and pieces from the character's life and deftly weaving them together to create a seamless, beautiful novel shines radiantly through in Lock and Key. But it is the characters that define this book: quirky, puzzling, humorous, endearing, and completely and totally enjoyable. Dessen has succeeded in creating a protagonist that, though she is very different and unique, becomes intimately familiar to the writer throughout the course of the story, while at the same time never letting the plot become predictable. Lock and Key is sure to captivate readers again and again.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Well, sort of.
In Chill, Reber offers a practical, sensitive, and very down to earth advice that can be of use of anyone. She knows that teens live in a world where the competition for everything--from yearbook mock elections to spots in college--is tough, and what's more, she empathizes and doesn't try to talk down to her readers. Instead, she asks the questions that matter to determine just how much stress you add on to your life, and offers up sensible ideas to help keep you organized and relaxed--with minimal effort, and in easy to adopt practices. From tips on how to de-clutter your hard drive to ways to organize your social life, Reber's advice will motivate and inspire to do more than just get it done, but get it done in a laid back and relaxed fashion.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
And so when Jack Spinner shows up, offering Charlotte a way out of debt, it is with trepidation that she accepts, knowing that it is her only choice. At first the price is small. But as times grow harder, and the supposed curse of Stillwaters closes in around her, Charlotte is forced to rely on Jack Spinner more and more. And the price of his help grows steeper, until one desperate day, Charlotte finds herself inadvertently promising Spinner more than she is willing to give.
A Curse Dark as Gold is a hauntingly beautiful tale. The story reads more like a historical fiction steeped in superstition than a fantasy, but is nevertheless spellbinding, magical and absorbing. Though it is a retelling of the fairy tale Rumpelstilstskin, this version has been tweaked to give it its own unique and inimitable flair that will keep readers intrigued, while at the same time staying true to its roots. Charlotte is the ideal narrator—determined, human, and amusing, and the cast of wonderful and diverse characters that surround her all work together to create a highly convincing picture of village life. Bunce shows real and promising talent as she weaves seamlessly a story that is just the right mixture of suspense, magic, romance, and charm, making her an author to keep your eye on.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Back in my teaching days, some kids didn’t understand why I was all perky on Monday mornings with my whole TGIM routine. They were like, “How can you have so much energy? It’s mad early. And you don’t even drink coffee!” They didn’t get why I was so happy all the time. What they didn’t know is that it took me years of surviving painful times and horrible situations to get to this point where I can be the person I wanted to be for so long. I used creative visualization to get here and I keep using it to reach my goals. It’s a way to create your ideal life and love what you do.
Creative visualization isn’t about just wishing for things and then they, like, magically appear or something. It’s about clearly imagining the life you want to live and then taking steps every day toward manifesting that image. If you work on creating your ideal life every day, you will eventually be living that life.
This is how I found my apartment. More than anything, I wanted to live in this neighborhood. The problem? Is that the average one-bedroom is way more expensive than I could afford. Every single person told me I was crazy and that I could never find a place here within my budget. Brokers laughed at me. Agents told me to try Weehawken, just like in that Sex and the City ep where Carrie can’t believe that a tiny shoebox of a place cost $2,800 a month. But I didn’t let go of my dream, and I found an affordable place here that’s awesome.
Or take becoming an author. I was like, “I’m writing a book. And it’s going to be published.” People looked at me funny. A friend sent information on how to self-publish your book. People doubted. They were like, “But you’re a high school science teacher. Did you even take a creative writing class?” The answer to that question is no. And the truth? Is that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I was passionate about becoming an author. I had this knowing that When It Happens would be published. I never gave up making that dream come true.
What I’m discovering is that the more you dream and hope and wish, and the more you send positive energy out into the universe, the more amazing things happen to you. It’s all about the karma. So imagine your ideal life and live that dream. Carry that image in your heart every day until the day arrives when your dream is reality. Because you deserve to live your happiest life.
I’d love to connect with you! You can find me at:
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/susanecolasantiP.S. from TCR: Are you a writer? If so, Susane is also running a contest for you! Submit your writing piece to her, and if you win, besides getting copies of her fabulous books, your piece could be published in her next book, Waiting For you! Click here for more details!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Told completely in hilarious, heartrending, and very candid poems, diary entries, and lists, The Center of the Universe (Yep, That Would Be Me) is a wonderfully fun and quirky cross between The Princess Diaries and The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. Anita Liberty is you, your best friend, that girl who sits next to you in English. Amazingly perceptive and full of wry humor, fun times, awful times, and many, many cute guys, this is one cool and edgy book that reaches out to teens and sends a message that is loud and clear: YOU'RE NOT ALONE!
So when he is approached by the Genius Squad on the sly, offering both him and his only friend Sonja an opportunity to take down GenoME, one of Darkkon's ironclad projects, he leaps at the chance...even though the group may not be as secure as he'd like if Prosper were to escape.
Monday, May 19, 2008
So look what I have:
That's right! Official, American Apparel sparkly gold Airhead by Meg Cabot t-shirts! Aren't they gorgeous? Well, I have five of them in my possession, and since I am pretty sure that it is a fashion faux pas to wear five shirts at once, as cool as they are, I guess I will just have to hold a contest!
So if you want one of these nifty tees, send me your name, address, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org with AIRHEAD TEE in the subject heading to be entered for a chance to win! I'll be picking 5 winners on June 1st, so be sure to send in your entries by midnight, May 31st!
P.S. This greatly disturbs me.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Scintillating, gritty, and engrossing, Fix poses a simple, yet powerful question to women of today: what exactly is beauty? It's a controversial subject, and Margolis handles it with supreme competence. This is a novel that doesn't choose sides, but instead qualifies each view of cosmetic surgery. It's full of facts and details, delivering a truthful, introspective look at the issue of appearance. Each character's individualism stands out as they must make a decision that will change their lives. Unflinching and riveting, Fix will make you think.
Click here to learn more about Leslie Margolis's second book, Price of Admission.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Summer is coming, and if you're looking for a great beach read or summer read, then I reccomend Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber, out today!
Anyone would love Aphra Behn's life. She lives on an isolated island, home to a cushy resort owned by her father. Her days are filled with attending to the guests, taking long swims in the ocean, and exploring the lush island. The only hitch? She's always alone.
So when the Smiths arrive with their teenage son, she's ecstatic. Maybe she can actually make a friend. But the circumstances surrounding the Smiths' arrival don't add up. Why did her dad put them in the villa under renovation? Why didn't he check them in? And how did they even get on the island? And when another guest washes up from the ocean dead, strangled by her bikini strings, Aphra is convinced that no one will be safe until the Smiths are off her island.
This suspenseful novel moves at lightening fast speed. Gerber cunningly draws readers into Aphra's paradise-esque life that anyone would envy. Her character is made intriguing by dropping sly hints about her past periodically throughout the book. But Gerber's delivery ensures that's not the only thing to keep readers going as the strange mystery unravels into something big that can't be resolved easily. Pay close attention, because this is one novel that doesn't slow down a bit, and will assuredly be the start of a fresh, fun, and exhilarating new mystery series for teens.
Comic: “Mutts” by Patrick McDonnell
Poet: E. E. Cummings
Band: The Cure / R.E.M.
Mineral: tourmalinated quartz
90s TV show: My So-Called Life
Season: I’m all about the springtime
Artist: Paul Klee
Atari game: Adventure
Eye shadow: Urban Decay Cherry
Mythical creature: unicorn
Coffeehouse: Joe the Art of Coffee
Obscure 80s song: “Perfect Way” by Scritti Politti
Boy TV character: Seth Cohen / Dawson Leery
Performance artist: Mummenschanz / Blue Man Group
Photographer: Alan Maltz
Furniture material: wood (light colors)
Way to spend a free hour: reading in the park
Comedian: Demetri Martin / Godfrey
Quote: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
NYC architecture: Citicorp building
Vacay spot: southern California
Time of day: twilight
Pen: Gelly Roll lightening
Origami shape: giraffe
Fish: neon / angelfish
Young-adult novelist: Laurie Halse Anderson / Blake Nelson
Clothing designer: Free People
Gelato flavor: mint chocolate chip
Outfit: T-shirt, jeans, and Converse
Sticker type: oily / metallic glitter
Sticker designer: Mrs. Grossman
Magazine ad: PETA’s We Are Not Nuggets! Please Don’t Eat Us.
Flower scent: lavender / lily of the valley
Crumbs cupcake: vanilla buttercream sprinkle
Netflix viewing during the last three months: Gilmore Girls
Movie scene: Lloyd Dobler holding the boombox over his head in Say Anything…
Let's start our own game of favorites! I'll suggest a topic, answer it, and then the first person who comments will give their favorite for my topic, and then suggest a new one and answer it, and then the next person repeats the process. Let's give it a try!
Topic: Reading spot
My Favorite: Outside, on my wicker couch on the deck.
Now continue it!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
As a part of out Author Spotlight, Mary Hogan, just back from a book tour in the UK, has graciously agreed to answer any question that may come her way. First of all, let's give Mary a BIG THANK YOU for being so honest!
And now, without further ado, here's Mary Hogan, with YOUR questions!
Your books focus a lot on self image. Is this due to past experience?
And present experience! I grew up in L.A., near the Baywatch beaches. My middle name is Helen and my sister called me Mary Helen Watermelon. 'Nuf said.
My middle name.
What kind of advice can you give to someone who doesn't like themselves?
One thing I know for sure is this: Everyone doesn't like something about themselves. Even (especially!) models. To me, it's just a matter of focus. Like my recently-regrown nose. I'm not thrilled with it, but I do adore my new haircut. So, I spend a lot of time at the mirror gazing at the back of my head. Accentuate the positive, ignore the negative. And always, always get a great haircut.
My husband is an actor, so yeah, I've met a few celebs. The trick is to treat them normally, because SO many people don't. Whenever I see a celeb on the streets of NY, I always ask for directions to the subway. I pretend I have no idea who they are. Honestly, my tactic rarely yields accurate directions (what celeb rides the subway??), but I do get a close-up look. Between you and me, lots of celebs have noses that have grown back.
Four books, total. Susanna 3...SUSANNA COVERS THE CATWALK...will be out this October. Our girl has a fab adventure at Fashion Week in NYC. Great fun.
The idea that Ruthie's dad was a sperm donor is really different, where did you come up with the idea?
My real dad was an alcoholic when I was growing up (see THE SERIOUS KISS). So, even though he was there physically, he was really an absent parent. So, I've always been drawn to characters who have difficult family lives. I got to thinking, what would it be like if a girl never had a dad at all??? Which is how I came up with the sperm donor idea. It was either that, or a wild night in the backseat of a car. But, Ruthie's mom would never have done that. Or would she......????? Did she???? hehe
Have you ever had a crush on a guy friend like Ruthie did in Perfect Girl?
What's one of your favorite books?
Do you have any other books coming out besides the Susanna books? / What are you working on now?
I'm finishing up the final SUSANNA. She goes to London and falls in love (sigh). After that, I plan to sit on my butt and stare into space.
Are you a full time writer, or do you have a day job?
Full-time writer. Weekends and holidays, too. Though I do do windows.
I've heard a lot about crazy writing habits. Do you have a writing quirk to share?
My writing habits are tres boring. I work everyday from 9:30 to Oprah. I've always wanted a quirk or two, but I'm painfully ordinary. Any quirks you can share??
(Note from TCR: I make my excess of push pins on my bulletin board say things before I sit down and write. Right now is says nifty...and I'm not even sure why.)
How was your tour?
London was hot, hot, hot! And, I don't mean cool. I was sweating the entire time. But, the work part was fantastic. One bit of fallout: I returned with a slight British accent. A la Madonna. I'm thinking of going on concert tour next year if I can whip myself into shape. Cheers!
Many, many thanks to Mary! If that interview hasn't tempted you into reading her books, click here to read the reviews!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
See below for the review.
The Day I Killed James by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Click here for the review.
Frenemies by Alexa Young
giveaway! They are: BookAdorer, sarahv, Elaina, Anidori-Isilee, Liv, tetewa, jennifer, bunnyb, Mari, and Hillary. Send your addresses to email@example.com by Friday at noon Eastern Time, and your prizes will be mailed.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sinister, suspenseful, and artfully written, Francey is one mysterious and engrossing read. Dubow's vivid wording will ensnare readers as he brings them back to the late 17th century and then up to modern times as Francey's story unfolds. The plot is briskly placed, and thrilling. Thanks to Dubow's keen eye for detail, you'll become intimate with each character and their background, making this an eerie novel that will propel you to read late into the night.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Before you start thinking that The Elite is just another novel of its genre, Banash surprises the reader by giving the seemingly perfect rich girls problems and flaws that aren't unfamiliar to Midwestern girls like Casey. It's a hard task to get readers to feel an ounce of empathy for mean girls like Madison, but Banash does it.
When Madison is determined to humiliate Casey, rather than beat her at her own game, Casey admirably stands her ground, making her a real role model. But this novel isn't all about nasty remarks and stunning makeovers: it also explores the meaning of family, and the angst that comes with relationships that have run their course. Finally, a novel that isn't all about the materialistic things in life. This absorbing read will fly by quickly.
The Elite will be released from Berkley JAM June 3rd, 2008!
But when he arrives groggy and bleary eyed, it doesn't take long for Morgan to realize that it's more than jet lag that's making Colin so weary...but the Fair Folk who invade his dreams and want to dance with him from dusk til dawn. They refuse to leave him alone, and it's going to take all of Morgan's brains to figure out how to get him away before he gives out in exhaustion.
How I Found the Perfect Dress is a nicely paced, fun, and magical read that tops its predecessor, Why I let My Hair Grow Out. It's full of sarcastic, witty humor, more hysterical magical beings, and meddling faeries. What makes it memorable are the Fair Folk--they're just as described in those old tales, but rocking a 21st century style. There's a plot twist that's building up suspense around every corner, and Morgan handles it all with flair. Wood has created an absolutely wonderful, sparkling read.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Hey there guys! This week, Susane is here to answer some of the questions you had for her!
Why did you choose to write When It Happens from the point of view of both Sara and Tobey?
When I was younger, it seemed like every teen novel was written from the girl’s point of view. I would read books and the whole time I’d be dying to know what the boy was thinking, what he talked about with his friends, and all of his secrets. I promised myself that if I ever wrote a teen novel, I would write it from both perspectives, so readers could discover more of the story that would have been hidden to them otherwise. I love telling both sides of a story. As a reader, I think it’s fascinating to find out what the other side really is.
How do you plan out your books? Do you outline it, or just come up with it as you go along?
Planning the main plot of a book is an organic process for me. I have a notebook filled with ideas for future books that I’m constantly adding to, as well as individual notebooks for each book I’m writing. Sometimes I have these really intense dreams and key scenes will just come to me. Even as I’m dreaming, I understand which characters the scene relates to. It’s amazing what the subconscious works out while you’re sleeping!
It’s important for me to have a chapter outline so I know what the book is about and what’s generally going to happen with my characters. I find that if I don’t keep the scope of the story focused, chapters can easy become unraveled and tangential. While writing each scene, I ask myself, “How does this move the story forward?” If it doesn’t, that scene is probably not needed.
As I’m writing, I uncover deeper truths about my characters and discover interesting things that I may not have known before, which can lead to unexpected changes in plot. That’s part of the excitement of writing, when your character takes over the scene for you! So my chapter outline is constantly evolving, but the main direction of the story doesn’t waver.
Do you write full time?
Yes, and I love it! I was a high school science teacher for almost ten years here in New York City. When I started teaching, I never thought I’d resign. I loved my students and I love teaching. But the opportunity to be a full-time author is one I had to take. Also, I feel that I can reach more teens as a writer than a teacher, so it’s all good. I think it’s exciting to know that a person can have more than one career in life and that anything is possible.
I loved When It Happens! I could definitely see it as a movie! Do you think that will ever happen?
I hope so! That’s part of my creative visualization, like Sara practiced in When It Happens with her pink bubble wishes. When I was writing When It Happens, I saw the scenes like movie scenes playing in my mind, so I think the story has a very visual quality to it. And I get a lot of email from readers saying that they think it would rock as a movie.
Did you have any say in the covers of When It Happens and Take Me There? (I love them, by the
Authors don’t usually have any input on their cover designs, so it was awesome of my publisher to allow a consultation for both covers. I saw three mock-ups for the When It Happens cover and thought the tree idea was really cute. I was able to provide some feedback that was incorporated during changes in the design. For example, Tobey was originally wearing white sneakers, and I knew he would never wear those. I was like, “Tobey should really be wearing black Converse.” And now he is. It always bothers me when the characters on covers are so clearly not the characters in the book, so I really appreciated the chance to make the cover appear more authentic.
The Take Me There cover is phenomenal. It was designed by Sam Kim, who did an amazing job capturing the tone of the story and the look of the characters. I love the huge window and all of that natural light; it feels like positive energy is just radiating from the cover. My feedback was basically that the cover is gorgeous!
Was it hard to write from the perspective of a guy?
Not really. We’re all human, so we all have the same basic needs and wants. We all want to find someone to share our life with, someone who will get us in a way that no one else ever has. Someone who feels like home. So I just used the desire to find and be with a soul mate as the driving force behind Tobey’s actions.
Dialogue is a bit trickier, since boys and girls generally speak very differently. It was a challenge to keep Tobey’s voice distinct from Sara’s voice, since they have so much in common and share the same sense of humor. Sometimes they really do sound like the same person! But boy dialogue tends to be more condensed. Boys don’t usually sit around with their friends talking about feelings the way girls do. Since I was around kids all day as a teacher, I kind of developed a sense about boy speak, and now most of it comes naturally.
Can you tell us anything about your next book, Waiting For You?
Waiting For You has a boy-next-door theme going on. It’s about a girl who realizes that the one thing she’s been looking for has been right there all along. The book also deals with teen depression, sketchy online relationships, and a boyfriend who’s not exactly over his ex. So it’s packed with jealousy and emotional turmoil. But at the heart of the story is true love, which is my thing.
In Take Me There, a character gets a little too close to a teacher. Why did you decide to write about that sort of situation?
I’m glad you asked this question. There have been quite a few books recently that deal with intimate relationships between teachers and students, like Barry Lyga’s incredible Boy Toy. I wanted to show the scenario that is far more common, which involves a student having an intense crush on a teacher. So many students have crushes which never materialize in any real contact with their teachers, but the emotions involved are so overwhelming that sometimes kids think that there’s more going on than there actually is.
In Take Me There, Nicole is infatuated with Mr. Farrell and wants to take things to the next level. It’s not clear what Mr. Farrell is thinking, but it’s obvious that Nicole is obsessed with him. I feel that many teens can relate to this type of infatuation, so I wanted to connect with them by telling this story.
Are you like Sara from When It Happens in the sense that you are driven to succeed?
Definitely. I’m also super organized and into archival scrapbooking.
What's one thing you'd like your readers to know about you?
I rule at Pac-Man.
Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Take Me There or When It Happens! Email your name, address, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Morgan is a bit too extreme for her parents. When faced with a breakup with her first boyfriend, she cuts her hair extremely short, and dyes it orange. She doesn't talk to any of her old friends, and is moping around the house. So her parents, meaning well, but perhaps a little misguided, book her a week long biking trip to Ireland, where Morgan meets Colin, one of the guides. Colin's unusual attitude appeals instantly to Morgan, but it's kinda hard to make any progress in the relationship department when you keep getting whisked away to Long-Ago, where you are evidently a half goddess and are expected to lift the kingdom of an evil enchantment....
Maryrose Wood's Why I Let My Hair Grow Out is an outrageously funny, quirky, and brilliant read. Each character is unique and vibrant, with their own distinct voice. Morgan is an endlessly witty main character who will appeal to the teen reader immensely. Her remarkable flair and zany attitude make this lively, fun froth of romance, mystery, and magic a MUST READ, with one kick-butt cover to boot.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Click here to read my review.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Ever by Cail Carson Levine
(I especially want to read this one!)
Fat Hoochie Prom Queen by Nico Medina
What Do You Expect?
The countdown’s on! My first YA novel, Frenemies, comes out in just one week. So I guess it makes sense that people keep asking me if I’m excited or if I’m going to have a huge celebration. What might not make sense is that I’ve been decidedly low-key about the whole thing. Sure, I’m psyched to see the book in stores and especially to hear what readers think of it. But I’m not having a release party and I tend to cringe, even recoil in horror, when people speculate on my imminent fame and fortune. Mostly, I tend to worry that people won’t buy the book—or worse still that they will buy it, they won’t like it, and they’ll (gulp!) return it.
Yeah, yeah, there are those people (cough ~ Pollyannas ~ cough) who say you’ve got to think positively, focus on your ideal outcome, and really build things up if you want them to go your way. Sorry, Oprah, I just can’t do it. In fact, I’m going to be really obnoxious here and claim that optimism will lead to disappointment every time. However, realism—with a healthy pinch of cynicism, pessimism or whatever my neurosis-du-jou might be—has worked fabulously well for me. I mean, my life is good! I’ve got a great family, lovely friends, reasonably good health, a nice place to live, a fun career—and I think I feel this way because I keep my expectations in check. That way, I tend to be pleasantly surprised and content with what I get (although, okay, I might not act like it all the time; apologies to the hubby in particular). Even my good pal Stephen Hawking has said, “When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.” (How apropos that I received this quote in a “Daily Inspiration” email last week! Seriously.)
I know it probably doesn’t work for everyone, but I definitely prefer to live life in the neutral zone, with a sort of que sera sera, let the chips fall where they may, humble accepting of the fact that I simply can’t control everything (in spite of the fact that I’m a total type-A, Capricorn, control freak). Does that make sense? Is anybody with me on this? Or should I just go away and stop yammering on? Okay, fair enough…
But first, it’s your turn to weigh in: Do you tend to live life with high expectations, low expectations or no expectations—and how’s that all working out for you? Leave a comment here, and our beloved Compulsive Reader will pick 10 winners at random to receive a signed copy of Frenemies! Woo hoo! I wish you good luck…but I definitely don’t want to get your hopes up. Maybe you shouldn’t either. J
Thanks for having me, C.R., and for all the love and support. Love you (mean it)!
Click here to read the review of Frenemies!
ALEXA YOUNG spent the first several years of her professional life working in the music industry—for the legendary capitol records and the irreverently funny trade magazine HITS. She subsequently worked as an editor for the now-defunct teen magazine JUMP, as well as for the #1 women’s fitness magazine in the country, SHAPE. As a freelance writer, she’s contributed to a number of national consumer magazines, including Marie Claire, O: The Oprah Magazine and Family Circle. She holds a bachelor's degree in Literature/Writing from the
PS from TCR.....Thanks so much for all the kind birthday wishes!!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Phoebe and her friend Margi are used to being stared at and made fun of because of their unconventional Gothic style. But the tables are quickly turned and they are considered normal when certain teenagers throughout the country come back to lif e they don't breathe, eat, or function quite like normal teenagers, but they're alive nonetheless. And Phoebe's small town of Oakvale is becoming a haven for them, and a brewing pot for animosity, discrimination, and violence.
Things only get more and more tense when Phoebe bravely decides to befriend the "ringleader" of these living dead, Tommy Williams, dragging her friend Margi, whose reluctance to associate with any of the "differently biotic" kids has to do with the guilt and fear surrounding their friend Colette's death...and reappearance, and Adam, the football player who is head over heels in love with Phoebe. Their decision to do this isn't a light one, that's for sure, and they'll have to face far more than just petty discrimination: together with their differently biotic friends, they'll have to try to change the way their society thinks in a world where the differently biotic have absolutely no rights.
Generation Dead is one tremendous read. Phoebe is one brave, intelligent, and extremely admirable character. Waters's writing and imagination is gripping and engaging. Each reader will find themselves wrapped up completely in this unique and original story that is controversial and will challenge your thinking, and question what it means to be alive. Faced with adversity on nearly every side, this lively group of teens (no pun intended) will courageously face the new world in which they live, with an engrossing ending that will leave readers indignantly demanding more. Generation Dead is a profound, descriptive, and sensitive read that is sure to make waves in the young adult genre.
But nevertheless, it was amazing! I loved it, even though it did rain on us quite a few times throughout the two days we spent there. I spent about 5 hours at Shedd Aquarium, where I met this guy:
But probably the best part about the trip was just being able to walk around downtown. It was so fun. And just when I didn't think that the trip could get any cooler, I saw this building:
That's right. A Borders. That was FOUR STORIES TALL! Now, if that makes me sound like a hick, I don't care. This was the biggest bookstore I had ever been inside of, and I made sure to visit every inch of it before settling down in the young adult section, where my friend Lisa found April's Book of the Month!
Besides finding the Comeback Season, we also found copies of How to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, and Sarah Mlynowski, which isn't due to hit stores until Tuesday! (Click here to read my review).
And not only that, but there was also TONS of copies of Airhead! I loved this book, but I promised the publicist who gave it to me not to post my review until the official release date, May 13, so you'll have to wait til then, or just go to the big huge Borders in Chicago and buy yourself a copy!
The ride home left me plenty of time to read and catch up on some really stellar reads, so stay tuned for some new book reviews heading this way soon!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
There are a few new and really cool books out today! Check them out!
Sorority 101: Zeta or Omega? by Kate Harmon
Jenna, Roni, and Lora-Leigh couldn't be more different. But when these three girls arrive on the campus of Latimer University, one thing will pull them together: sorority recruitment. Roni has been looking forward to it for months and knows which one everyone expects her to belong in. Jenna decided to try it on a whim, but is worried that if she does, everyone will discover the secret she is desperately trying to keep hidden. Lora-Leigh is doing it just to please her mom, but will she find that sororities are more than just superficial groups of girls? Throughout the recruitment process these girls will become friends, defy expectations, and learn to decide for themselves what they truly want.
Zeta or Omega? is a satisfying and wholesome read. Jenna, Roni, and Lora-Leigh have a sense of realness about them that will make them instantly likable and entertaining characters. Harmon has a real knack for capturing the fun, exciting, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming feeling of those first few weeks of college. This pleasurable read will abolish any of those preconceived notions that sororities are just full of shallow girls who like to party, and will be sure to reel in countless readers.
The New Sisters by Marley Gibson
Sequel to Zeta or Omega?, The New Sisters looks to be just as fun filled as its prequel. I can't wait to read it myself!
Click here to learn more!
Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
I'm really jazzed about reading this one! It is on my To-Read list, so expect a review real soon!
Well, this month, we're going to mix it up just slightly. Instead of having just one book to feature, we're having two! They're both written by the wonderfully smart and talented Susane Colasanti.
When It Happens
As a senior in high school, good girl Sara hasn't ever experienced true love. Her aim is to find it before she graduates. She thinks she has it in Dave, and they even start dating. But then Tobey comes along. Tobey is everything Sara isn't: a slacker, who has a solid C in each and every class. But Tobey is convinced Sara is The One, and so he tries to win her over. But Sara may not be so easily convinced.
When It Happens is magnetic. It's not often that an author comes along who can write from both the points of view of a guy and girl in such a way that is believable and authentic to readers, but Susane Colasanti pulls it off with ease. When It Happens is confident, and peppered with the things that make up teenage life in America today: the dropped swear words, the thoughts about sex, and that quick and sharp humor, but is not overdone. The alternating points of view give this story just the right amount of suspense and variety, and the characters' unfailing raw honesty make this a novel to remember as two teens strive to discover their soul mates, and chronicles that exhilarating, amazing feeling when it happens.
Take Me There
If you just can't seem to really get into reading, or know someone else who is a reluctant reader, be sure to watch out for Take Me There!
Rhiannon has just been dumped without a reason. She's miserable beyond belief. Nicole has just dumped her boyfriend with a reason. She's confused beyond belief. And James...James would do nearly anything to get Rhiannon to stop mooning over her ex and finally notice him as more than her buddy. Over the course of a week, many things will happen to these three friends. There will be confessed secrets, messages on sidewalks, delivered flowers, a ton of photocopied notes, one awesome speech, and lots and lots of karma. But in the end, will they discover what they truly want?
We're also going to be giving away a copy of each book to one lucky winner! Email your name, address, and email to email@example.com for your chance to win! You have until midnight on May 28th to get your entries in! Winners will be announced on May 29th!