Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Bag (37)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.


I made a few last minute trips to Borders before they closed and came home with this stash. Not too shabby. What'd you guys get this week?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...

This Is Not a Test
Coming June 2012 - Preorder it below
Indiebound | Amazon | BN

Yall, Courtney Summers wrote a zombie book. This scares me a little in that Courtney currently holds the title of Queen of Contemporary, but she's earned my trust by writing not one, not two, but three freakishly amazing novels thus far. She's on my auto-buy list, and I'm not going to let a few zombies scare me away.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

You Have Seven Messages
Stewart Lewis
Publisher: Delacorte
Released: September 13, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 272
Source: Cavalier House Books
It's been a year since Luna's mother, the fashion-model wife of a successful film director, was hit and killed by a taxi in the East Village. Luna, her father, and her little brother, Tile, are still struggling with grief.

When Luna goes to clean out her mother's old studio, she's stunned to find her mom's cell phone there—charged and holding seven unheard messages. As Luna begins to listen to them, she learns more about her mother's life than she ever wanted to know . . . and she comes to realize that the tidy tale she's been told about her mother's death may not be the whole truth.
To most people, Luna lives a life of luxury. With a film director father and a supermodel mother, she really does have it pretty good. Until, of course, her mother tragically dies in an accident while Luna is off at summer camp. Even though a year has passed since her dad broke the news, Luna still finds herself only going through the motions and not really living her life. She has so many questions about her mother's death and her last few months leading up to it, questions her dad refuses to answer. The more he balks, the more suspicious she becomes until she finally decides to find out for herself. When she visits her mother's studio and finds her cell phone with several unheard messages on it, Luna questions whether or not she really wants the answers.

While I had a hard time connecting with Luna, the story was well-paced and kept me invested. Luna was obviously a person of privilege, but I just couldn't believe some of the things that happened to her. (I realize that's really vague, but I don't want to spoil anything.) I felt much more connected to her little brother, Tile, who was incredibly adorable and a great supporting character despite his age. But as I said, the plot, though flawed, move quickly enough and carried me with it. Despite not relating to the main character much, I was invested enough to care about what ultimately happened to her.

One wouldn't think such a novel would have much of a romance in it, especially with it not even being mentioned in the synopsis, but this one did. I felt a little like it was thrown in just for the sake of having one. I didn't really get what was so appealing about Oliver, and while he definitely proved himself useful at times, I didn't believe his connection with Luna.

This novel may have fallen a little flat with me, but I still think it deserves a chance. The mystery and suspense definitely kept me reading through the end, and I'm sure others will enjoy it more than I did.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dear Bully edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones

Dear Bully
edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: September 6, 2011
Genre: Nonfiction, Anthology
Pages: 352
Source: ALA
You are not alone.

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.
I love anthologies. It's really easy to place the authors we love on pedestals and forget they are real people, just like us. But with books like Geektastic, Sixteen, and Crush, we are allowed glimpses into the lives of some of our favorite people. We are reminded they are, indeed, a lot like us. In Dear Bully, over 70 authors share their stories of being bullied, bullying others, or standing by while others were tormented.

Obviously there were some stories I enjoyed more than others, but overall I was very impressed by this collection. Having such a large group of authors collaborate on a single project is inspiring, especially when it's for a cause such as this one.

I think it's fair to say most of us have been bullied at some point in our lives. And a lot of us, though we'd like to forget it, have probably victimized someone else, too. Growing up, it's hard fitting in if people think you're the least bit different. Dear Bully reminds us that it's okay to be different; it's worth embracing, even. Because if you can just get through it, life does get better.

I chose to feature this book today because it is World Suicide Prevention Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates over 3000 people commit suicide daily and with every death there are ten to twenty more attempts. Suicide is one of the three leading causes of death among people ages 15-34 in every country in the world.

That hurts to type. But we can change that by spreading awareness, fighting for equality, and standing up for ourselves and for those who can't. Bullying is a huge factor in youth suicides, and we must not allow it to continue. Spread the message. Buy a copy of Dear Bully for your school library. Reach out to those in need. Kids need to know they're not alone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...

Love and Leftovers
Sarah Tregay
Coming January 1, 2012 - Preorder it below

You know I love supporting debut authors, and you know I love novels written in verse. So this upcoming release is a double win in my book. Plus I've been craving contemporary romance like a diabetic craves chocolate. Thankfully, this want is something I can indulge in as much as I like.

Monday, September 5, 2011


There is a person I know who has something I want. Desperately. More than I've wanted anything in a long, long time. It is a book. So go out and get it. It hasn't been published yet. So request the ARC. It's actually a bound manuscript - of a book highly anticipated. It is written by this guy, you may have heard of him, named John Green.


I have a friend who was recently blessed with a bound manuscript of The Fault in Our Stars. She called to tell me because she was obviously excited (understatement of the year), but she is unable to share it with me because she was required to sign an affidavit specifically saying she would be the only person to read it.

So I got mad.

How could she really call and tell me this only to say I couldn't read it? Why didn't she just keep it to herself? I mean, she hasn't even read a fricken John Green book before. How can she call herself a fan? I'm the one always telling her to read his books. How dare they send her a copy? How dare she rub it in my face? Did they really require a signature?! How are they gonna know? That is ridiculous...

This of course was the conversation I had with myself in my head. Only crazy people talk like that... you know, out loud... This person is a dear friend. And although I am extremely jealous of her (!!!), I am also glad she is finally taking my advice and reading a John Green book. Even if I'm kinda mad...

So anyway, this whole situation got me thinking: are we as book bloggers spoiled?

Being a book blogger is amazing. People send us books, often without a guaranteed review, for free. We get to read things months before the general public. We get bookmarks and posters and stickers and temporary tattoos. Authors talk to us, appreciate us, sometimes befriend us. These things make us a part of an exclusive group, and all because we're basically a bunch of nerds who read way more than the average person and enjoy spitting out thoughtful, well-written reviews for free.

It's easy to get spoiled. It's easy to get jealous. But it's kind of like your mom always told you: there will always be someone who has something you want and can't have. But when it comes to books, you CAN have it. Maybe not today or next week, but eventually that book will be released for everyone to read. And with awesome posts like this one by Beth Revis or that one by Michelle Hodkin, you can see that waiting for the finished copy isn't a bad thing. ARCs are advanced uncorrected proofs, printed long before the finished copies. Long enough for changes to be made - and not just typos! Changes to the actual content can and do occur. Scenes change; endings are altered. The wait for January might seem like a long one, but I want my copy of The Fault in Our Stars to be the one John Green meant for me to read.

Jealousy can be described as feelings of insecurity, fear, and/or anxiety over the potential loss of something valuable. But when it comes to books, what do any of us really have to lose? There are so many books out there already published - more books than any of us could ever read in a lifetime - and there are more books being released everyday. With such a vast amount of literature available to us, it seems silly to be jealous over just one book. Even if it is the new John Green.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Shut Out
Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Released: September 5, 2011
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 273
Source: BEA
Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.
So here's the thing about Kody Keplinger: I fucking love her.

Normally I try to keep my language family-friendly, but if you can't handle an f-bomb or two, you may not be able to handle Kody. Personally, she had me at page one of her first novel, The DUFF. So when I had the chance to meet her at Teen Author Carnival in New York, I was majorly stoked. She's incredibly smart and funny, and it's hard to believe she's only twenty years old. I was incredibly excited to see her again at BEA and got a signed ARC of her new title.

Keplinger's sophomore novel, Shut Out, reads much like her first. Although Lissa is much milder in manner, she is much like Bianca (and Kody herself) in that she is a feminist. When she feels snubbed by her boyfriend of more than a year, she knows she must put an end to the rivalry that keeps stealing his attention. She rounds up girls from both sides of the fight, and together they go on a sex strike: no making out, no fooling around, and absolutely no sex until the soccer guys and the football guys put an end to their stupid rivalry. Shouldn't take more than two weeks, right?

Even though the football girls and the soccer girls never mingled before, they find solace in each other during the strike. They go to one another for advice, actually talk about sex, and learn a lot about themselves in the process. They realize that it's okay to talk about sex. It's okay to like it or not like it. It's okay to not have it. Many of the girls are very self-conscious, but when they open up to one another they realize it's okay to be different.

In this novel, Keplinger tackles the very taboo subject of teenage sex in a realistic way. Never remotely preachy, she talks about the reality of what really goes on without ever condemning or condoning it. I expect she earns the respect of teen readers; she's sure earned mine. She's also earned top spot for the "Best-Writer-of-Hot-Contemp-Guy" Award. DUFF fans, you thought Wesley was hot? Meet Cash, a soccer playing, star gazing, library working senior who just might have the hots for Lissa. You should read it to find out ;)
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