Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Catching Fire, the eagerly anticipated sequel to The Hunger Games, is coming on Tuesday! But if you simply cannot wait, here are a few fun things to tide you over until then:
You can read Chapter One from Catching Fire on the Scholastic web site here:
And you can read Chapter Two Here:
Also, if you are an NPR listener, stay tuned in for an exclusive interview with Suzanne coming next week on All Things Considered!
And, if you haven't gotten your copy of Catching Fire yet, consider Amazon.com! They're selling it usper cheap--less than $10! That rocks!
Friday, August 28, 2009
So, in order to encourage you to pick up one of those more eloquoent (a euphemism for wordy) books (or to simply entertain you), I will share with you my adventures (misadventures?) with some of my required reading. I'll try to be as honest as possible. Please don't judge me if I sound too naive and stupid. Which, I am. A lot of the times.
So, first up: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's pretty safe to assume that we've ALL had to read this book at one point of another, right? We all know the basic gist of the story: Hester Prynne gets caught commiting adultery in 1640's Puritan and completely uptight Boston and her punishment, instead of death, is wearing a red 'A' on her chest for the rest of her life.
- Nathanial Hawthorne is overly fond of the 'ignominous' and all of its forms. Like, seriously. The guy cannot go an 8 page chapter without using it at least 5 times.
- Everything is implied. These people back then sure knew their sins, but no one ever spoke of them. So, I'm sitting here reading, wanting to know things like, "HOW was Hester caught? What did they say when they accused her? And how on earth in a society where everyone is too afraid to leave each other alone in case the devil or some witch claimed them for the dark side did Hester and her mystery man hook up?" But to explain these details would be uncouth.
- Apparently, children in the 1640's used the word 'verily'. Yeah, okay.
Okay, so I was really dense and totally missed the part where because Dimmesdale spoke to Hester in the beginning, CLEARLY he must be Pearl's father. CLEARLY! (??) So, basically, I spent the majority of the book trying to figure out how Chillingworth (Hester's betrayed and totally furious and deranged husband) would exact his revenge on Hester by torturing Dimmesdale (who had issues of his own). So here I am, niave, terribly confused, and rather impatient, working my way through, trying to figure out what the heck is going on, until about, oh, chapter SEVENTEEN! Then it all clicked and made perfect sense! The issues, the revenge, the guilt. Perfect. Sense.
From then on out, it was a really interesting book! There were a couple of twists, and I honestly wasn't quite sure how Hawthorne would end the book. It was a pretty decent ending though, I was satisfied. I gather that to a more astute reader, The Scarlet Letter would have been so much more interesting as everything was playing out. In fact, my sudden revelation almost made me want to go back and read chapters 2-16 again with new eyes. Almost.
I suppose overall though, what I felt the most at the end of the novel was sadness. I was sad that Hester and Dimmesdale and Pearl and really, the whole community lived their lives in such a way where one mistake had such a profoundly negative impact on their lives. To me, one of the major, major aspects of religion has always been forgiveness. God sent Jesus to die on the cross to forgive of us of all of our sins, and therefore we should forgive others of theirs as well. But that community seemed to know nothing about that, and instead made it their business to worm their way into others' personal lives and expose their every fault. While I in no way condone adultery, I find it so sad that no one in that book was willing to forgive anyone else...or themselves. It's only at the very end of the book, when Dimmesdale and Hester are buried near each other that you get the idea that perhaps the community did forgive them for their adultery.
Anyways, that's just one of the many themes found in The Scarlet Letter, but it's the one that stuck out most to me. So go read the book if you want to find out more, I'm not doing your homework for you!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Cover Comments: I really like this cover--it's very creepy and in your face! The colors in the sky at the bottom are very ominous, and the bats are a creepy touch. The model's eyes are really unusual and great. This is one cover that is sure to pop in the bookstore!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Click here to learn about the order of Tamora Pierce's novels.
Also, it wasn't until after I was done filming and had uploaded the video that I realized I forgot to mention another really great book--it's called Bad Kitty, and it is written by the hilarious and charming Michele Jaffe. It's a mystery, a comedy, a romance, and it's hysterically funny! Do check it out! (And the sequel, Kitty, Kitty takes place in Italy!)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Hannah is an orphan, and for as long as she can remember has lived at the Boston Home for Little Wanderers. Unlike her peers, whose dreams take place on land, Hannah dreams of the sea, and of living in a small cottage and swimming in the water all day long. But at age fifteen, she is turned away from the Home, and after a disastrous trip on the orphan train, is found a position as a scullery maid in a fine home in Boston. There, near enough to the sea, Hannah is able to live quietly. But one of the guests at the house, a young painter, seems to know something about her, and understand her strange urges for the sea...now if only Hannah could figure them out herself.
The first in a new series called Daughters of the Sea by Kathryn Lasky, Hannah is a rich historical novel full of charm, humor, and magic. The novel is slanted towards younger readers, but with its light romance and the complexities Hannah face about class distinctions and about growing up, this book will appeal to older teens as well. The beginning of the book is a little meandering as Lasky works to make her point that Hannah can't be far from the sea, but once Hannah arrives back in Boston, things pick up once more as she begins to experience her strange yearnings for the sea in earnest. The book is brimming with historical details as well, but they are integrated seamlessly into the story, making for a realistic and exciting read. The magical and mysterious elements are thrilling, and the final pages of the book are suspenseful and exhilarating. The ending is quite a cliffhanger, leaving plenty of room for the sequel to pick up. This new mermaid tale is one that girls of all ages can easily enjoy.
Cover Comments: I love the colors used in this cover! The pinks, grays, and blues together are just gorgeous! The fonts used and the colors just embody the sea in book format! So lovely! I can't wait to see what that other covers look like!
Hannah will be released next month from Scholastic!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Now, I have to admit, I can be a sucker for bad made-for-TV movies. Especially those of the Hallmark channel variety (yeah, I know, don't ask me why). And one common plot that is overdone quite a bit is the whole heart transplant drama...you know, woman gets a heart transplant and then starts falling in love with the donor's husband or something like that because the HEART made her do it? Total sucker for it. Once again, don't ask me why.
So I was positively THRILLED to discover this book:
In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
Story of a heart transplant told in alternating chapters between two girls: the heart transplant recipient and the heart transplant donor. When Eagan dies during a figure skating competition, Amelia receives her heart, but when she experiences new personality traits, she questions whether she's received more than just a heart.
It's not much, but I think it sounds WONDERFUL! I can't wait to read it!
Okay, signing off now, and the next book I talk about will not be a 2010 release, I PROMISE!
Cover Comments: I like the cover a lot--the green is such a pretty color, and I like the model's pensive pose. The colors and the title treatment are cute together, and I think it makes for a very pretty cover.,
Sunday, August 23, 2009
So I have to tell you guys, I am in love with a book I promised myself I wouldn't read until later. It's my mother's fault. She picked it up, read it in like, three hours this morning, and then said, "You need to read this NOW!"
That book is The Line by Teri Hall.
I was kinda already flipping out over it in this blog post, but after having read it....oh my word! Such an amazing, powerful, chilling read! It's just as creepy and suspenseful and mysterious as its fabulous cover would suggest. The ending is utter torture (I suspected this. This is why I wanted to wait to read, thus lessening my wait time for the inevitable sequel), and it's just full of twists and secrets and startling revelations and unexpected secrets. It is my new favorite book of 2010...which is weird because 2010 is still four months away.
I know I'm being obnoxiously vague and a complete tease here, so look for my review later this week. But just in case this one wasn't on your radar: wake up, pay attention, The Line is utterly spectacular. Put it on your wishlists, guys! Like, for real!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Immortal does have some redeeming qualities: the mistresses of Wyldcliffe are genuinely creepy and do scare the reader a bit, and Shields' plot is very unique. Immortal might have been a bit more enjoyable if there had just been more to it, if things had been developed a bit more, or perhaps a bit more focused. The ending is open, hinting at a sequel, but whether or not this reader will pick it up is still up in the air.
Cover Comments: I am in love with this cover! I like the water as the background to the necklace, both of which have meaning in the book. I love the texture of the ripples, and the mysterious, antique look of the necklace. The font of the title is just okay, but I think it works well with the cover!
Friday, August 21, 2009
The Miles Between is a novel full of coincidences, friendship, hurt, and healing. Though a little hard to get into at first, Destiny's story soon comes grabs on to the reader and doesn't let go until you find exactly what she is looking for. The characters are funny and real, and make this a completely entertaining and down to earth read, and their perfect day is one that everyone dreams of having. Destiny's search for herself and acceptance is memorable and poignant; it'll make you laugh and cry in the same minute. Though her character seemed a bit odd in the beginning, she makes much more sense towards the end of the book, which is when she really comes to life, and her journey is eccentric and amusing. Pearson wraps up the book in a clever way that doesn't seem contrived, and will make readers smile in satisfaction. This uplifting read is one of Pearson's best yet.
Cover Comments: I like elements of this cover a lot. I love the view of the teens from below with the sky as the backdrop; I think it is a really neat effect and captures the mood of the book. However, I loathe the title treatment! It's too cartoon-ish, and the yellow color just seems to come out of nowhere, and I think it makes the book cover look less professional! I much prefer the title from the ARC, pictured below. Other than the title, the cover is fantastic...just please stay away from bright yellow, cartoon fonts from now on, Henry Holt! Please!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
*This book has been re-released under the title What We Lost*
As a pastor's kid, Samara Taylor is supposed to have a good relationship with God and an unshakable faith. But a lot of things in her life have made Sam a doubter. With her alcoholic mom in rehab after a DUI and her father more concerned with his congregation and appearances, Sam can't help but feel as if God doesn't exist. And that feeling is only compounded when a local girl is kidnapped, turning her whole community upside down.
Once Was Lost is a blunt novel of faith and what happens when everything you believed in is changed irrevocably. Sam is a very convincing and relatable character that readers will be able to connect with on any level, especially as her doubt about her beliefs is something that nearly ever person has confronted at least once in their lifetime. She brings up issues that some people may not think about, like not being included with friends because of her beliefs and who her father is. Zarr also does an excellent job at portraying the tense setting as the whole town deals with the kidnapping and fear begins to control others and accusations are slung left and right.
The best thing about Once Was Lost though is that it doesn't concentrate on the all of the things that go wrong, like the kidnapping, Sam’s mother's DUI, or inappropriate relationships, but rather examines its affect on Sam and her faith. Once Was Lost isn't a hugely dramatic novel full of twists and turns, but it is a gripping, sometimes heartbreaking look at how ordinary people learn to deal with a less than perfect world. Zarr’s latest book is an excellent, non-preachy look at faith and religion that any reader, believer or not, can enjoy.
Cover Comments: I like this cover a lot, I think it's very pretty and it strikes the perfect balance between being pretty and serious, which fits the mood of the book well. It's simple, yet it conveys what it needs to. Kudos to Little, Brown!
Once Was Lost will be released in October.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Do you ever feel as if you don't truly know someone? Do you want a good conversation starter? Or are you just looking for some way to pass the time with a bunch of friends? Go Ahead, Ask Me is the answer all of the above, a book packed with 500 questions, ranging from silly and superficial to funny to thought provoking that is sure to elicit plenty of laughs and some surprising answers.
I recently brought this book with me to a sleepover with three of my close friends and we spent nearly the entire evening with it, opening it at random places or paging through from the beginning, bouncing questions off of each other. Not only did it keep us entertained for hours (literally), it sparked conversations that we wouldn't have had otherwise. There are a lot of hilarious questions that were fun to answer, there were a few questions about sex that we skipped, and some serious ones that we took some time to think about it. It was an enjoyable night, and we were all a bit sad when we found more questions we'd already answered than not. The general consensus: this book is coming to the lunch table once school starts!
Cover Comments: I like the size of this book, it's small and perfect for stashing nearly anywhere and then whipping out at a moment's notice. The cover is neat, I like the graphics and colors a lot (it looks even better in person). The whole style of the book is very fun!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Ash finds herself suddenly and painfully alone in the world when her fathers dies not long after her mother, and her stepmother and stepsisters, angry at the debt her father owed, force her into servitude. Ash clings to the old tales of fairies and magic, and walks in the woods as often as she can, hoping for a magical escape. It's while in the woods she meets two very different people: the fairy Sidhean who wields great magic and want Ash to be his forever, and the king's huntress Kaisa, who becomes her friend. Ash will be forced to choose between the two, and find her strength.
Malinda Lo's setting for her novel Ash is gorgeously described. Lush, mysterious, and magical, it's a real, tangible place that will feel like home to readers, full of its own intricacies and traditions. Despite the perfectly portrayed setting though, the characters are a little static. The problem with Cinderella is that she doesn't do much in the story besides go to a ball, and nearly the same goes with Ash. She does discover courage at the end of the story, but it isn't really such a big deal because the villains in the story aren't that scary. They are mean-spirited, yes, but not so much as to make the reader really despise them. But despite that, Ash is a beautifully told fairy tale retelling with some really unique elements about staying true to oneself and believing in magic in every area of life that any reader will enjoy. Lo’s writing is beautiful, and I’m curious to see what else she writes.
Cover Comments: Oh my word, this cover is GORGEOUS! I love it. My ARC had a very green tint to it, but the finished copy looks exactly like the picture. I love the contrast with the dark grass and the white dress with the title on top of it. The texture of the grass is perfect as well. This is a very striking cover! Love it!
Monday, August 17, 2009
I have to admit, I don't scroll down my website very often, so when I did a couple of days ago, I was SHOCKED to find I have over 260 followers! Wow! Thank you!
I want to thank everyone who follows me for doing so--I think it's awesome that you guys do so, and I am surprised.
So, if you are a follower of mine, I'm automatically entering you twice into a drawing to win my spare hardcover copy of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and swag. If you're not a follower of mine, but would still like to win, go ahead and follow me and I'll give you all one entry as well, and two new followers will also receive some swag.
This contest will last until the end of the month! Winner announced September 1st!
And once again, THANK YOU! (I hope my ramblings are worth it.)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Well, besides being a bestseller and winning the Swedish equivalent of the National Book Award, Are U 4 Real? (known as Sandor Slash Ida in Sweden) was made into a movie of the same name. I found the movie trailer with English subtitles the other day, and thought you might enjoy it:
As far as I know, the movie isn't available in the US, but doesn't that make you want to read the book? And books are usually better than their movies, right? *winks*
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I'm not sure how familiar you all are with a series of books called Six Word Memoirs (a great collection of books filled with contributions from authors famous and obscure, all describing their lives in six words), but there is a great Six Word Memoir book coming out written entirely by teens! I'm so excited for it, not only because I'm sure it'll be funny and poignant and vastly entertaining, but because my six word memoir is in it!
It's quite exciting, especially since I sent it in nearly two years ago and I definitely did not expect it to be chosen. I'll not talk about it until after the book is officially released next month, but here's a few things to get you excited about the book:
First off, the official trailer! It's really awesome, and will give you just a taste of what's in store. It's really neat how many of these you can empathize and connect with...like the title? That could totally be mine! At the end, there's a game you can play with your friends!
Follow SmithTeens on Twitter! They'll be tweeting a bunch of Six Word Memoir fun! They are @SmithTeens
Also, if you are a New Yorker, on Tuesday, November 3rd, they're throwing a huge party and teen story slam at The New York Public Library. And on October 29th, they're reading at Barnes and Noble...stay tuned for more details!
And put the book on your wish list!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Cover Comments: This cover is actually pretty plain, but keeps in style with the covers of Ellen Hopkins' other books. So that in itself usually makes it distinguishable, but really I think it's pretty unremarkable. I'm trying to figure out what the cover is supposed to be...it looks like fire one minutes and then a red sheet the next. Oh well, it does it's job well!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
When a man is murdered at the English estate of Buckshaw, it is easily the most exciting thing that has ever happened to Flavia de Luce, a precocious budding chemist and Buckshaw's youngest resident. Eleven-year-old Flavia is determined to solve the mystery and connect the dots between the mysterious clues left behind, from the dead bird with the postage stamp on its beak, left on her doorstep, to the dying man’s final word. What ensues is a hilarious, twisting journey that will attract readers of every age.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a sharp, witty book, and Flavia is quite possibly one of the most engaging and entertaining narrators ever. Quirky, exceedingly clever, and wickedly hilarious, Flavia's unique outlook on life and the mystery unfolding before her will have readers simultaneously laughing and scrambling to keep up with her. The mystery seems simple at first, but as Flavia delves deeper into the facts and her research, the book becomes filled with twists and turns you'll never see coming. The vocabulary and many historical, science, and literature references make this a very smart, and even educational, read as well, as befitting to Flavia's intelligence. Bradley has written an unconventional and delightful novel, full of tongue-in-cheek humor that is wholly original. Thank goodness Bradley is writing a sequel—I’m not sure how long I can go without another novel with Flavia de Luce.
Cover Comments: This cover is really neat, I think the size and the cover art really convey the 1950's feel of the story, and the dead jack snipe with the postage stamp is not only relevant to the story, but it's unusual and creative and certainly stands out. I couldn't imagine a more perfect cover!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Which is why I need to go shopping for some more office furniture! I love office furniture stores. All the organization, or the illusion of it anyway. It's just heaven for wannabes like me who usually live their lives in a constant state of disarray. But, I found a really neat shelf from CSN Office Furniture that I think will suit my needs perfectly.
Can't wait to get it and to reclaim my floorspace!
Yesterday, Coert Voorhees' debut novel, The Brothers Torres came out in paperback! I read this book last year, and it's a great coming-of-age story with an engaging male main character with lots of cultural diversity. Please check it out!
Frankie and his brother Steve are very different. While unpopular Frankie spends his time playing with explosives with his best friend, working at his parents' restaurant, and dreaming about Rebecca Sanchez, Steve is the widely respected soccer star with a scholarship and the perfect social standing.
But then John Dalton, son of the man who practically owns their little New Mexican town, picks a fight with the brothers, and Steve is bent on retaliation, especially when John starts fights with Frankie when he's alone and outnumbered. As things escalate and Steve begins to take more and more risks all in the name of respect, Frankie will come to realize that garnering respect and doing the right thing don't always go hand in hand.
The Brothers Torres is an unassuming novel that carries a powerful message within its pages. This unlikely coming of age story is punctuated by the rich Hispanic culture and influence and its pages are scattered with Spanish words and phrases that give it a completely authentic and genuine feel. All at once serious and humorous, poignant and full of everyday occurrences, this book speaks volumes about what it is like growing up in today’s society, with the urges to do what is right and the expectation of acting tough. Voorhees gives his characters a larger than life feel and wields control of his plot with great skill. His wholly unique and entirely relatable cast of characters and clock of situations make him an author to watch.
And Coert was kind enough to answer three questions for us:
What inspired Frankie and Steve's story?
Their story started out with the character of Frankie playing with fireworks in Zach's backyard. I tried to figure out what kind of pressures Frankie might be under from his various role models, and that's where Steve and the cholos came in - kind of a direct opposite to the pressures his dad was putting on him. From there, it was a matter of putting those two different pressures into conflict and seeing how Frankie dealt with it. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that every young person is at some point (more likely, at many points) confronted with decisions about what kind of person he wants to be.
What do you want readers to get out of The Brothers Torres?
Ideally, I'd like readers to have a good time. That's the most important thing. After that, I hope the book challenges people to think about who their influences are, maybe makes them think about how the events in Frankie's life might relate to their own. I'd also like people to get a taste of New Mexican culture and food, something I miss like crazy now that I don't live there anymore.
What are you working on now?
I just finished a draft of a new novel, called The Artist for now, which is pretty different from The Brothers Torres. It takes place in California, at a hard core prep school near Stanford University. It's kind of a thriller/mystery that combines elements of satire. I used to be a high school teacher, so the whole environment of hyper-driven students, college stress, over-involved parents, and rankings-obsessed administration is something I was interested in. I'm psyched to see how it turns out - I had a great time writing it.
Thanks so much, Coert!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman
I love this cover!
Looking for a new beginning after a terrible mean girl past, Charlie Healey realizes there’s no escaping high school drama
Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle school was brutal. But high school is Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day she runs into Will, her ex–best friend, who had moved away. Now a varsity athlete and hotter than Charlie remembered, Will hangs with the crowd running the school. But Charlie doesn’t understand their power until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank.
Torn between doing what’s right and her secret feelings for Will, Charlie must decide whether to turn in her very best friend or live with the guilt of knowing what he did.
Rosalind Wiseman’s first novel for young adults is a fresh, funny, and juicy read about friendship, betrayal, and how far some will go to be accepted.
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
I'm always a fan of historical fiction (in my opinion, there's not enough of it in YA), and I like how quilting is an influential aspect of the novel.
A young girl sets out to save her sick mother and records her adventures in quilt pieces.
Ludelphia Bennett may be blind in one eye, but she can still put in a good stitch. Ludelphia sews all the time, especially when things go wrong.
But when Mama goes into labor early and gets deathly ill, it seems like even quilting won’t help. That’s when Ludelphia decides to do something drastic—leave Gee’s Bend for the very first time. Mama needs medicine that can only be found miles away in Camden. But that doesn’t stop Ludelphia. She just puts one foot in front of the other. What ensues is a wonderful, riveting and sometimes dangerous adventure. Ludelphia weathers each challenge in a way that would make her mother proud, and ends up saving the day for her entire town.
Set in 1932 and inspired by the rich quilting history of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, Leaving Gee’s Bend is a delightful, satisfying story of a young girl facing a brave new world.
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
February 23rd, 2010
Cannot wait for this one as well! It sounds so fascinating! It was originally published in the UK (where it is a bestseller). Here's the description from AmazonUK:
Incarceron – a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology – a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber – chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here.
In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison – a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device – a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born ...
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
March 9th, 2010
This looks to be one of the most promoted books next spring--its cover is the catalog's cover as well! And it looks oh so good as well! I was able to snag a copy while I was at Penguin, and it is very tempting to drop all of my other books and read it right now!
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.
This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.
The Line by Teri Hall March
I have to admit, this is probably the one read I am looking forward to the most! You all know about my soft spot for futuristic novels, right? or maybe "soft spot" isn't the way to describe it..."insatiable need" is more apt! Either way, I cannot wait for The Line!!
Set in the near future, THE LINE chronicles the adventures of fifteen year old Rachel Quillen. Since her father died in a war, Rachel and her mother, Vivian, have lived in relative isolation on a place called The Property. It's the home of Ms. Moore, a taciturn woman who makes her living growing orchids. She hired Rachel’s mother as a housekeeper, even though she sensed Vivian was in some sort of trouble. Ms. Moore couldn’t be too picky, for there are reasons that good help is hard to find when you live too near the Line.
The National Border Defense System is an impenetrable barrier intended to protect the Unified States from invasion. Because of an impending attack, construction of the System had to be rushed, and the last section—called the Line—was built inside the U.S. border. When it was hastily activated, it created a permanent division between those lucky enough to be on the U.S. side and those who were not. Families were ripped apart, lovers separated. The territory left unprotected became known as Away; the abandoned unfortunates who survived the enemy attack became the Others. Over the years frightening stories circulated about the Others, stories about strange abilities and evil intentions. The Line became a place to avoid.
For Rachel, the activation of the Line is just a history lesson; it happened long before she was born. Life on The Property has been good, if rather dull, and the Line is just something that has always been there. But things are about to change in ways she never imagined and suddenly the world outside The Property—a world of government control and corruption, where people without power or influence have few choices—begins to intrude.
Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison
I loved, loved, loved Taken by Storm, so I cannot wait for Angela's next novel! It's described as a "tragic romance", which means I'll be crying probably as much as I did in Taken by Storm! Click here to read all about it on Angela Morrison's website. It's a very sweet story of how this novel came about.
AND--Taken by Storm is coming out in paperback in February with a new cover. I am a little disappointed because I adored the hardcover cover, but the paperback one is really pretty as well. It's very different from the hardcover, making it hard to compare the two, but I think everyone will like it!
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
My catalog says that this will be out in April, but I talked to Richelle yesterday and she said it got pushed back to summer! Bummer! Though I feel kind of silly saying that since I haven't even read Blood Promise yet! There is a description, but I refuse to allow myself to read it in case there are spoilers in it! The cover is really pretty, even though it does look similar to the first edition cover of Frostbite. Nonetheless, exciting! I love the Vampire Academy series!
My Boyfriend's Dogs by Dandi Daley Mackall
This looks like a cute read!
True love is like a good dog—it comes when you need it the most. Bailey Daley might not have found true love just yet, but it’'s not for lack of trying. She has a string of ex-boyfriends—and their dogs—to prove it. Bailey’s been raised to believe in true lasting love—and to wait for it. Along her path to love—and three boyfriends later—Bailey discovers that the things she was taught to believe are the things she really believes, too: it’s worth waiting for that one true love, the guy has got to believe in God, and he’s got to love her for who she is.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
April 6th, 2010
Is there anyone who isn't excited for this book? Both of these authors are great writers on their own--I'm really excited to see what they've come up with together! And the cover is awesome! (I don't think it's officially out yet, so I am going to err on the side of caution and just leave it at that.) It's the story of two guys, both names Will Grayson, who have never met and how their paths cross. It is sure to be fantastic!
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
This looks really good (and sad)--it's so unique.
Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend.When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal she left behind. But he is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.
For Keeps by Natasha Friend
I love this one's cover! It's so pretty! And I think I may have mentioned my strange fascination with dysfunctional family stories? Yeah, this one is calling to me!
For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It’s been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that’s how Josie likes it. Until one day, in the pet food aisle of Shop-Co, they run into the parents of Paul Tucci, Kate’s high school boyfriend—the father Josie has never met. If Mr. and Mrs. Tucci are back in town, it’s only a matter of time until Paul shows up. Suddenly Josie’s mature, capable mother regresses to the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie’s on the verge of having her first real boyfriend, while her free-loving best friend, Liv, begins yet another no-strings-attached fling. When Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci, she finds herself questioning what she’s always believed about her parents—and about herself. In FOR KEEPS, Natasha Friend tells a fresh, funny, smart story about what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.
Willow by Julia Hoban
Willow is coming to paperback in March! This is very exciting! Not only is Willow one of my favorite books, but Julia is such a sweet person! I love how they are keeping the original cover too!
Scott Westerfeld's books Peeps, The Last Days, and So Yesterday have gotten a facelift! They're a bit more urban and edgier than the originals. Unfortunately, I couldn't find pictures of them online, so you'll just have to trust me--they're cool.
So many books for next year, and this is just ONE publisher...I am going to be very, very busy!
Both Kyla and Alex are lost. They feel so alone, despite everyone around them, and don't have anyone that truly understands their uncertainties, fears, and insecurities. Both deal with their feelings in different ways. For Kyla, it's partying and the never ending parade of guys. Alex, an introvert, seeks comfort in ballet. When they meet up in an online chat room, they find understanding and acceptance in each other. But despite their connection online, meeting face-to-face is different, and they find that neither of them are exactly the same as they are online. Can their relationship endure?
Written by Sara Kadefors, a Swedish author, Are U 4 Real was originally published in Sweden and is its bestselling YA novel of all time, and with good reason. Kyla and Alex's characters are full of depth and dimension, from Alex's uncertainties about dancing and wanting to discover his true motivations for continuing it, to Kyla's confusion and her fierce protectiveness and independence. Both Alex and Kyla are struggling with their identities and figuring out who they are and who they want to become. Their efforts and the pressures exerted on them don't always make them the best people, and they continually mess up in their search for acceptance. Both make mistakes, and both learn how to correct them and admit they were wrong, which is one of the most important and endearing aspects of the novel. Kadefors also deal with the issue of coping, and demonstrates how different people can be, despite how they may feel inside.
Despite the writing being occasionally vague and slightly bumpy in spots (which may be a result of how the novel translated into English), Are U 4 Real is a realistic, straightforward, and appropriately and believably complex novel for anyone who has ever felt alone in life. It’s a book about reaching out, searching for connections, and learning how to deal with differences and mistakes. Are U 4 Real? is as genuine as it gets.
Cover Comments: Though I would have expected something a little more serious for the cover of this novel, I do like it. The computer mouse influence is cute, and I like the colors used, though I would argue that it makes the book appear to be more of a light-hearted romance than it is. I don't love the cover, but I like it, and it works just fine.
Also, besides being Sweden's bestselling YA book of all time and winning the Swedish equivalent of the National Book Award, Are U 4 Real? was also made into a movie called Sandor Slash Ida (the book's Swedish title). I was able to track down a trailer for it with English subtitles. What do you think?
Monday, August 10, 2009
If you are D-Y-I-N-G to get your hands on Fire, the companion novel to Graceling, then I have something cool for you. No, not a free advance copy, but the next best thing--below is the prologue and first two chapters of Fire! Yay!
Fire by Kristin Cashore
And since I know after reading that teaser you won't be able to wait for the actual book, here is a handy (and very pretty) little countdown widget to help you keep track of the days until you can get your hands on a copy:
And as always with these neat widgets, feel free to pass them around and embed them in your own blogs and websites! Spread the word!
Louder Than Words is a new series of memoirs, written by teens, that will be coming out this month. Authors Marni Bates, Emily Smucker, Chelsey Shannon, and series editor Deborah Reber will be chatting here live every night this week about tons of things to help kick off the release of their books.
The chats start at 8 PM Eastern, and last about an hour. You should be able to see the video below. Let me know if you have any problems!
One of the cool things I did in NYC after visiting NYU was visit Scholastic. It's a really neat building! They have Harry Potter banners out front, a rooftop terrace, and inside the building their mission statement is woven into the carpets! It's quite neat!
While I was there, I met several very cool publicists (thanks again for having me!), and author and editor Lisa Ann Sandall (I have her A Map of the Known World on my TBR list!). I was also shown an actual finished copy of Catching Fire! It's gorgeous! It turned out so well! However, I only got to ogle it for so long before they whisked it back into its vault! Ah, September 1st, come quickly!
In order to make the wait not so agonizing though, here are a few awesome widgets and videos:
And go here for more fun stuff, like desktop banners, buddy icons, posters and bookmarks!
Here's to hoping August goes by quickly! Enjoy!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I am finally back from New York City! I had a blast, saw a lot of great colleges, narrowed my top three choices down to Vassar, Columbia, and NYU, and met loads of great people! There will be tons of posts coming all this next week about my trip, and I am excited to share a lot of that with you.
One of the many people I met while in NYC was Aimee Friedman, YA author and editor at Scholastic. I saw her at Teen Read Night on Wednesday, where she read from her latest book Sea Change and answered a few questions. I read Sea Change on my way to NYC, and it is fabulous!
Miranda is a practical, driven teen looking forward to spending her summer interning at the Museum of Natural History. But when her estranged grandmother dies, she and her mother travel to Selkie Island instead, a small island off the coast of Georgia that is home to her grandmother's favorite vacation home, which she left to Miranda's mother. There, Miranda finds the island full of legend and lore, frivolous girls and lazy beach days. She feels out of place, yet when she meets Leo, strangely at home. But Leo and Selkie Island both possess secrets that Miranda will have a hard time wrapping her head around...
Sea Change has all the makings of a perfect summer read: an idyllic, wonderfully descriptive location, a lush romance, and plenty of secrets to keep the reader turning pages. The exposition of the novel is slightly bumpy, but the rest of the book flows quite smoothly as Miranda discovers that there's more to her family and the island than she anticipated. The more mystical elements of the book are well developed and placed just right throughout the book, making it a mysterious and intriguing read. The best thing about Sea Change is that it is not just about romance or Miranda and Leo’s relationship; it's a book of discovery as Miranda learns the truth about her family, grapples with class distinctions and doing what is right, and learns to open up her mind to new and sometimes scary ideas. Because Miranda and Leo don’t really get very serious in their relationship, Friedman’s open but optimistic ending is easier to accept and quite fitting.
Sea Change has just a touch of enchantment in it, and plenty of real life situations and issues that everyone faces at one time or another, making it an ideal and wonderfully captivating summer read that leaves you with high hopes for another summer (and sequel).
Cover Comments: This cover is so divine! The colors are perfect for the ocean setting, and the intimate (yet chaste) position of the models is very alluring and romantic. The added details of the swirls on the sides make this cover look very soft as well. This is definitely a romantic, appealing cover, but certainly not in a trashy or cheap way. I love it!
(And P.S., Aimee mentioned something about a sequel on Wednesday. I was the one in the audience clapping my hands saying, "Yay!!")
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Creepy, engrossing, and completely unforgettable, Candor is one novel that will pull readers in, play with their minds, and refuse to let go. Pam Bachorz's imaginative town where everything and everyone is tightly controlled is fascinating and a bit disturbing at the same time, mainly because it’s quite realistic and familiar, and Bachorz’s eye for detail and tight plot just make it all the more believable. Oscar is a flawed, honest narrator, but you also can't help but relate to him as well, especially as he struggles to maintain control over the careful, structured world he's built himself. The many supporting, brainwashed characters are also interesting in the sense that despite their minds being altered, a fragment of their former selves still exist, giving them distinguishing quirks and eccentricities, which brings readers back to the whole nature vs. nurture debacle.
Bachorz has written an unpredictable, daring novel that will resonate with many teens as they see the same pressures exerted on them by our society, only in extreme measures. Candor is a smart, chilling novel that you won't be able to get out of your head very easily.Cover Comments: This cover--perfect. The lines and lines of identical houses fit in well with the theme of the book, and the orange color and spray paint title each have a special meaning within the book. This cover is not only attention grabbing, but fits the novel to a T.
Candor will be released by EgmontUSA on September 22nd, 2009!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Another remarkable aspect of Stiefvater's writing is how beautiful and intense her romantic connections are. Grace and Sam's chemistry is passionate, but chaste. It's deep and sweet without being cliché, very tasteful and completely absorbing.
And finally, if the supernatural, suspenseful elements or the electrifying romance don't capture your imagination, Stiefvater's lyrical prose and magical descriptions will. She has taken something as mundane as a small town heading into winter and made it a mystical, delightful place to read about. Her keen insights and unique writing style will have readers lingering over the pages, savoring each and every word. Maggie Stiefvater has surpassed my expectations in Shiver, making me a fan for life.
Cover Comments: This cover is absolutely gorgeous. I love the different blue tones and the pattern, and how there is a wolf lurking in the bottom right corner (something I didn't notice until I saw the book in person). If there were ever a font that can actually embody the word it makes up, the title's would be it. I actually shivered when I saw it. And I love the little pop of red--perfect! Another neat touch that you don't really notice unless in natural light--inside, the ink is all a dark blue. So cool! I love everything about this book!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Lindsay is hoping for a fresh start, to get out of San Diego, where everyone remembers when she had her breakdown, and get away to boarding school, even if it is a boarding school as creepy as Marlwood Academy. But Lindsay is happier, and even manages to make a great new friend, Julie. Then, the school's most popular girl, Mandy starts acting super creepy. Rumors abound, but it's becoming more and more clear to Lindsay that something else is at work...something darker and more dangerous than just a houseful of mean girls.
For fans of YA supernatural stories, Possessions is a great read. It contains all the perfect elements: a mysterious force, a creepy atmosphere, a scary-mean girl with power, and a hot guy. Lindsay is a good main character; she's played the popular game and has gotten burned, she's still grieving over the death of her mother, but she plans of making the most of her second chance and thankfully does her absolute best to not get caught up in the popularity drama. She's compassionate and concerned for others as well, which is what helps drive the plot. Though Holder isn't really specific about what Lindsay's breakdown entailed, she does a good job at slowly revealing Lindsay's past, which is another element that motivated readers to continue with the book.
Cover Comments: I am not a fan of this cover. I like the purple in it, and the girl looking over her shoulder, but I don't think the background image or the text and layout of the images really work well together. It has a very slapped together feel, as if someone inexperienced had Photoshopped the images together.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Told in Micah's perspective and organized neatly into separate sections, Liar is an intensely compelling read. The first half of the book contains secrets and half concealed truths that will hook readers and draw them in on a quest for the truth, and then the second part of the book consists of Micah grappling with her situation and sorting out the truth from the lies…for the most part. Micah is a very engrossing narrator that you can't help but like a little, despite her numerous faults and the amount of frustration she causes, and she never does what you would expect. Justine Larbalestier’s ability to cause her readers to like a main character they can’t trust is a remarkable, though it isn’t necessarily Micah that will motivate readers to finish the book, but rather a need to discover the truth.
And Micah’s tale is a convoluted, dark, and complex one that is as thought provoking as it is thrilling, and will not fail to surprise you. Thought Micah makes a point to inform readers she will never lie to them, it becomes staggeringly obvious that she does exactly that…whether or not you choose to believe her story is up to you.
Cover Comments: This cover is...weird. I do like the green and black color scheme, but the girl on the front is all wrong. Her hair hiding her face fits (for reasons that will become apparent once you read the book), but Micah actually had super short hair, and she is of African descent. The girl on the cover looks too white. I find it really odd that Bloomsbury would put a white girl on the cover of a book when the main character is so clearly black. Do they think it will sell better? if that's the case, then that is just tragic, and I hope they reconsider the cover when it comes time for the paperback release. Unless they are trying to confuse the reader even more so, since Micah's character is always changing with her lies? Too many possibilities!
So, maybe it isn't the most accurate cover, but I suppose it does its job.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Just a quick note to say I'm going to be out until next Sunday! I'll be in New York with my family, visiting colleges and sightseeing and being Obnxious Tourists (sorry to all you NYCers!) and the whole nine yards. I will be without internet access, unfortunately (trying not to freak out about this), but I will take lots and lots of pictures and read lots and lots of books and tell everyone how it goes!
I've also scheduled a few posts for the upcoming week, so don't stop coming by!
Have a great week!