Friday, April 30, 2010
I generally write my own summaries, but I happen to love the summary from Annick Press's website for Nothing But Your Skin, so I am using it.
Louella hates her name. She’s obsessed with colors and when she gets upset, she yells herself hoarse. People call her “slow,” but Lou knows one thing for sure: she wants to be with her boyfriend—no matter what her parents or doctors think. Poignantly and sensitively told, Nothing But Your Skin chronicles the aftermath of a mentally challenged girl’s decision to have sex.
Nothing But Your Skin is a simple, yet powerful love story. From the beginning Cathy Ytak engulfs readers into a her story. The plot line itself, a mentally challenged girl decides to have sex, is unique, and I really enjoyed it. Lately, it seems like many YA novels share similarities, so this short story was refreshing. I also liked how Ytak touched onto the thoughts of Louella's family. By doing this, Ytak demonstrated Lou's feeling of alienation (because her parents do not believe Lou chose to have sex), which is something all teens can relate to. Because the story was rather short, however, Ytak did not delve quite as deep as I would have liked. Maybe a few pages longer would have been nice.
This short story strongly reminded me of a Korean movie, Oasis. If any of you have watched and enjoyed it, then I strongly suggest you grab a copy of Nothing But Your Skin/The Pool Was Empty.
Below is a book trailer for the Single Voices series:
Six bloggers were chosen to review each story, so below are the links to the other bloggers!
The Pool Was Empty/Hey! Teenager of the Year
Descent Into Paradise/Greenbean Teen Queen
A Place to Live/The Book Muncher
I Am Not Emmanuelle/Cindy's Love of Books
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The Unwritten Rule - Elizabeth Scott
After - Kristin Harmel
Lacey's world shatters when her dad is killed in a car accident. And secretly? She feels like it’s her fault. If she hadn’t taken her own sweet time getting ready that morning . . . well, it never would have happened. Her mom wouldn’t be a basket case. Her brother Logan wouldn’t drink. And her little brother would still have two parents.
But life goes on even if you don’t want it to. And when Lacey gets the chance to make a difference in the lives of some people at school, she jumps at it. Making lemonade out of lemons is her specialty. Except she didn’t count on meeting a guy like Sam. Or that sometimes? Lemonade can be a pretty bitter drink to swallow.
Getting Her Pretty Back - Molly Ringwald
To her millions of fans, Molly Ringwald will forever be sixteen. As the endearing and witty star of the beloved John Hughes classics Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, Molly defined teenage angst, love, and heartbreak. While remembered eternally as the enviable high school princess Claire, or the shy, vulnerable Samantha, Molly has just celebrated her fortieth birthday. Facing a completely new, angst-inducing time in her life, she is embracing being a woman, wife, mother of three, actress, and best friend with her trademark style, candor, and humor.
In Getting the Pretty Back, Molly encourages every woman to become "the sexiest, funniest, smartest, best-dressed, and most confident woman that you can be." She shares personal anecdotes and entertaining insights about the struggle to get through the murky milestones and identity issues that crop up long after the prom ends. Whether she's discussing sex and beauty, personal style, travel and entertaining, motherhood, or friendship, Molly embodies the spirit of being fabulous at every age, and reminds us all that prettiness is a state of mind: it's "the part of you that knows what you really want, that takes risks."Lavishly illustrated by Ruben Toledo, Getting the Pretty Back is sure to charm women of all ages with Molly's unforgettably personal, refreshingly outspoken take on life, love, and, of course, finding that perfect red lipstick. . .
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This week's book is The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. On her website, she has a book playlist for her novel, so this week I've featured two of the songs. Enjoy and be sure to check out the rest of the songs on the playlist!
This song is What Sarah Said by Death Cab for Cutie. I absolutely love this song, and it fits the book perfectly!
I put a slight twist on the next song, which is Creep, originally by Radiohead. Thanks to all the embed codes disabled on the Radiohead videos, I chose Sad Kermit's version. :P Enjoy!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I found Becoming Chloe to be a refreshing and inspirational read. A lot of YA novels out today tend to overcomplicate things by adding paranormal elements or controversial topics. Catherine Ryan Hyde, however, goes to opposite route by making a fairly simple novel, and in my opinion, simplicity can be much harder to write about. Luckily, Hyde did an excellent job writing this novel. In essence, Becoming Chloe is about two teens trying to make the most of their lives. Hyde could have easily focused the novel on the struggles Jordy and Chloe have faced, but she doesn't. Instead, her focus is on the beauty of the world. The simplicity of this novel is what makes it so wonderful. The novel reveals that beauty still exists in a world that is so full of hate. A very simple, yet powerful message, very much like the book itself.
The road trip in this book was epic, to say the least. With little money, Chloe and Jordy plan to go from New York City to the West Coast, where they can ride horses on the beach. Their trip is not without struggles, but to see Jordy and Chloe make so much of their horrible lives was inspiring. This novel seriously makes me want to spread hope, peace, and love. Ha.
I recommend Becoming Chloe to anyone who is looking to find hope in the world.
Catherine Ryan Hyde's Site
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Caragh M. O'Brien's Birthmarked is a wonderful example of great dystopian fiction. One of my favorite things about this novel was the protagonist, Gaia, who reminds me of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Gaia's spunky, clever, and easy to relate to. Like Gaia, I think all teenagers are just looking for some answers. Another thing I enjoyed about this novel was the use of codes. Without giving any spoilers, I thought O'Brien's code was really clever. The use of codes was made even more clever when readers learn of the importance of genetics in the novel. (Get it, genetic codes?) :P
Out of all the novels I've read, this one has one of the most intriguing opening chapters. O'Brien starts Birthmarked with a birth scene. The scene will effectively reel readers in, and it also gives them a feel of the rest of the novel. The press release that came with this novel called it a cross between A Handmaid's Tale and The Hunger Games. Seeing as I've never read A Handmaid's Tale, I cannot tell you if that part is accurate. I do, however, believe The Hunger Games comparison is accurate, as I mentioned earlier with the similar protagonists.
Overall, Birthmarked is a great dystopian novel that should not be missed.
Caragh M. O'Brien's Site
Roaring Brook Press
I received this book from Holt's InGroup program.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I decided to bookmooch Beginners' Love after seeing this post over the summer. Frankly, I was curious to see just how much time can affect a YA novel. I found myself somewhat surprised. Norma Klein did a wonderful job writing Beginners' Love. If I was a teen in the 80s, I would have loved this book. I found Beginners' Love to be a very realistic novel, which shocked me. As a current teen, I thought any 80s YA novel would shy away from important topics like sex. While I think Klein could have done a better job, I was still impressed. In a way, this book even reminded me Anatomy of a Boyfriend.
Beginners' Love did have a few generation gap differences (if that makes sense). I seriously had no idea what a diaphragm was until I read this. Also, I did not understand most of the pop culture references. This book also made me realize how smoking is perceived has changed over the years. My main dislike about Beginners' Love was the poor ending. Throughout the entire book, Klein wrote about provocative subjects. At the end, however, it seemed like she avoided truly discussing the controversial topics, which made no sense to me. Had this book been written in today's society, I think Klein would have hit these topics straight on.
In a way, reading this book was like time traveling. I felt myself warped into a world similar, yet completely different from my own. This book also poses an important question: Can current YA novels stand the test of time? I think a select few can. While I hope Twilight can be forgotten (too late for that, probably), I would love to see my children reading The Hunger Games.
Norma Klein Obituary
I received this book from a trade.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Forget You - Jennifer Echols (ARC)
When swim team captain Zoey wakes up from a car accident with partial amnesia, she is torn between the boy she remembers...and the one she doesn't.
You can actually find the cover of this online, but I thought this was more fitting, seeing as the ARC does not have the cover. ;)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967) I really enjoyed this book as kid. I kind of wished it was higher though.
99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches - Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950
94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978) Hilarious series. My teacher read these books to my class, and everyone loved them.
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985) Meh, I didn't like this one.
89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)
88. The High King - Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief - Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003) I read this book in middle school and thought it was okay.
76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)
72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999) I love this series, but I hated this book. In elementary school, I tried reading this book. I didn't like it, so I read the 7th (yeah, I never got the whole reading a series in order as a kid). I ended up loved the series.
70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990) Didn't like this book at all.
59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)
49. Frindle - Clements (1996) Pretty inspiring, but all of Clements's novels follow the same skeleton. :/
48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961) This should be in the top 10!!!!
45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995) I think a teen can appreciate this novel more than a kid. I had to force myself to finish it. The end was the best part IMO though.
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972) I remember reading and liking this book, but I can't remember particulars.
43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958) This was one of my favorite books in elementary schools. When I reread it middle school, however, I didn't like it as much.
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003) I'm a HP fan. :)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976) Don't remember this one much. It was okay, I guess.
36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000) I'm a minority, but this is either my 1-2 favorite book of the series.
34. The Watsons Go to Birmingham - Curtis (1995) This book has one of my favorite scenes from a children's book. (brownie points [and maybe more!] if you can guess which one in the comments)
33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic - Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II - Carroll (1865/72) LOVED the books!
26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9) This was nice, surprisingly.
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007) <3 style="font-weight: bold;">22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003) This book was ADORABLE!
21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975) This was another one I didn't think I would like as kid, but I did. I thought Babbitt made a great choice with the decision the protagonist makes in the end.
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977) Sweet book.
12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978) This is personally my favorite children's novel.
10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961) I read the play based on the book. It was okay.
9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993) How can you not like this book?
6. Holes - Sachar (1998) I liked it, but I think the rank should be in the teens.
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 - Rowling (1997) To be honest, this was the weakest book in the series in my opinion. Once again, I didn't understand the concept of reading a series in order as a kid, so I read the second one first. This caused the first book to drag when I read it.
2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952) Definitely deserving. :)
100. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
99. Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
98. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
97. Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix Nice dystopian novel.
96. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Claus
95. Forever by Judy Blume
94. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
93. Tithe by Holly Black
92. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
91. Wings by Aprillynne Pike
90. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
89. Angus, Thongs And Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
88. Marked by PC And Kristin Cast
87. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
86. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky This book should be higher ranked.
85. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
84. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
83. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
82. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
81. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
80. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
79. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald One of my favorite books I've read in high school.
78. Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen The only Sarah Dessen book I've read, and I liked it!
77. Evernight by Claudia Gray
76. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
75. Life As We Knew It series by Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
73. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
72. Alana: The First Adventure series by Tamora Pierce I read the first one and loved it.
71. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
70. Unwind by Neil Shusterman
69. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
68. Paper Towns by John Green This is one of my favorite books.
67. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles-
66. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
65. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
64. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon
63. The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
62. Blue Bloods series by Melissa De La Cruz- BLAH!
61. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
60. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
59. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt see #20 on children's list
58. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
57. Eragon by Christopher Paoloni
56. Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine
55. The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith
54. Fallen by Lauren Kate
53. The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
51. Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke
50. Number The Stars by Lois Lowry
49. Lord Of The Flies by William Golding I read this a few years ago. I need to read it again, but I liked it.
48. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
47. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
46. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
45. The Summoning series by Kelley Armstrong
44. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
43. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
42. Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card
41. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
40. Wake series by Lisa McMann read the first one
39. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
38. Are You There Good? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
37. Looking For Alaska by John Green Even though I personally liked Paper Towns more, if I am being unbiased, I think this one deserves a higher ranked than Paper Towns.
36. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
35. A Great And Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray
34. His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman read the first, but I couldn't be bothered to read the rest.
33. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
32. Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare I like MacBeth and Othello better...
31. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain I'm reading this now. It's a slow process.
30. Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
29. Forest of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan I liked this, but I don't think it deserved this high of a rank.
28. Holes by Louis Sachar see #6 on children's list
27. The Outsiders by SE Hinton I didn't like this.
26. The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger Deserves to be higher.
25. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
24. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
23. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
22.Uglies series by Scott Westerfield
21. Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
20. Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder
19. Book Thief by Markus Zusak I loved this.
18. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine
17. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
16. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
15. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott see #25 on children's list.
14. Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery
13. The Giver by Lois Lowry see #7 on children's
12. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare I have only read the first one, but I enjoyed it.
11. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
10. Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
9. A Wrinkle In Time series by Madeline L'engle
8. Graceling series by Kristin Cashore
7. Percy Jackson And The Olympians by Rick Riordan
6. Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
5. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee Well deserved.
3. Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer I've read the firs two. Way overrated.
2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling I'm a HP fanatic.
1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins I've read The Hunger Games. I have a problem with a series that hasn't been completed yet being #1 though...
What are your thoughts? The most interesting thing about these lists are the novels that overlap. Most shockingly, I can't believe Little Women is higher ranked on the YA list than on the children's list. I have always considered it more of a kid's book. :/
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Butterfly - Sonya Hartnett (ARC)
Growing up during the 1980s in the safe complacency of the Australian suburbs, Plum Coyle should be happy. But on the cusp of her fourteenth birthday - and on the fringe of her peer group - she lives in terror of the disapproval of her cruel and fickle girlfriends, and most of all, she hates her awkward, changing body with a passion.So when Plum's glamorous next-door neighbour Maureen, a young wife and mother, befriends Plum, Plum responds with worshipful fervour. Plum feels herself reinvented. With Maureen, she becomes the girl she's always wanted to be. But Maureen has an ulterior motive for taking Plum under her wing...
(My ARC cover is different, but I can't find it. I think this one is the Australian cover.)
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Can't you just feel the tension seeping off the cover?
Monday, April 5, 2010
Ever since I heard of this book, I wanted to read it. Even all the negative reviews did not steer me away. Either I'm stubborn, or I wanted to form my own opinion. My own opinion mirrors that of the negative reviews: I had problems with this novel.
I wanted this novel to be a light-hearted love story, with some family elements, maybe a cross between Isabelle's Boyfriend and Little Black Lies. Unfortunately, I did not get that. From the summary, readers are led to believe that El's new life is a recent change. Once I began reading, I learned that the change was over a year ago. I really just wanted to scream, "GET OVER IT," it meaning El's new life and her crush on Eric. I found El to be a selfish and shallow character, and I just could not find any sympathy for her.
Karen Tayleur throws a major twist towards the end of the novel. The twist took me by a complete surprise, and I was literally sobbing at it. After I finished crying, however, I was left scratching my head. I could not find an actual purpose for the twist, other than to shock readers. The twist made some of El's actions throughout the novel more understandable, but I feel like Tayleur could have added more depth to the book if readers knew of the twist from the beginning. Instead, Tayleur decided to veer readers on a completely different path, only to reveal the truth at the end. I do not want it to sound like I dislike twists because I generally enjoy them. Chasing Boys was just not a book that would have benefited from one.
Having said that, the fact that I cried must have meant that I had some sort of emotional connections to the characters. I realized that El was not as selfish and shallow as I once thought. Overall, I just wish Tayleur would have developed El more throughout the novel, rather than just waiting for the twist to explain everything. On a more positive note, the romance elements were fun, even if they were predictable, but I would not pick up Chasing Boys just for the romance. I have read many books that do romance better.
Even though my opinion mirrored the negative reviews, I do not regret picking up this novel. Making your own opinions is important, and if this book seems interesting, you should pick it up. Maybe you will enjoy the twist (and book) more than I did. :)
Karen Tayleur's Site
I won this book through a contest.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Wherever Nina Lies - Lynn Weingarten
Nina was beautiful, wild, and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, Nina disappeared. 2 years later, everyone has given up hope that Nina will return, but Ellie knows her sister is out there. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.Then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing. Determined to find Nina, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she's got a chance - her hot, adventurous new crush. Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Lies. And the most shocking thing of all: the truth.
The book contains interior black-and-white illustrations, since the sister's drawings play a crucial role in the story.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This week's book is A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. This week's video features a young Marlon Brando depicting a famous scene from the play. "STELLA!!!"