Monthly Archives: September 2009

Will you be there?

There are 4 events on the horizon that I wanted to mention. I will be attending all of them – will you?

  1. The National Book Festival is in DC this weekend! I’m sad they aren’t bringing Diana Gabaldon back since they had her the last time she released a book, but Judy Blume will be there!
  2. In a couple weeks, the Kidlitosphere Conference will be held in the DC area. I’m excited to be attending, although I’m nervous as all get out as I don’t know anyone who will be there, and I don’t think anyone will know me. I’m a big lurker, sometimes commenter on a lot of blogs, but I don’t think I stand out at all. I’m envisioning myself huddled in a corner all day as everyone else greets well known friends.
  3. ALA Midwinter is in Boston this January! As the chair of a committee for YALSA, I am required to attend, but I’m excited to finally have an excuse to check it out!
  4. Lastly, ALA Annual will be in DC next summer! I have only attended Annual once before, when it was last in DC< so I am happy it is back so soon, especially because it won’t be happening again in the foreseeable future.

Lots of stuff going on, especially in the DC area! Will you be at any of it?

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Check out The Pace!

A teacher at my school, Shelena Shorts, has published her first young adult novel! The Pace is the title, and you can read more about it on her website. I haven’t been able to read it yet as it’s been checked out of our library since we received our first copy. I’ve ordered a second so I hope to catch up on it soon! It is supposed to be similar to Twilight; I think there are many readers who will be happy to have a Twilight read-a-like!

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Boy Toy by Barry Lyga giveaway!

boytoy

Book description from Good Reads:

Five years ago Josh’s life changed. Drastically. And everyone in his school, his town—seems like the world—thinks they understand.

But they don’t—they can’t.

And now, about to graduate from high school, Josh is still trying to sort through the pieces. First there’s Rachel, the girl he thought he’d lost years ago. She’s back, and she’s determined to be part of his life, whether he wants her there or not.

Then there are college decisions to make, and the toughest baseball game of his life coming up, and a coach who won’t stop pushing Josh all the way to the brink.

And then there’s Eve. Her return brings with it all the memories of Josh’s past. It’s time for Josh to face the truth about what happened.

If only he knew what the truth was . . .

I can’t even find enough words to describe how awesome Barry Lyga is. He is a great writer who explores a lot of “hot topics” in unique ways without his books ever becoming “problem novels.” He is hilarious and smart and an excellent speaker; I saw him at YALSA’s YA Literature symposium last year. And now, he’s supporting book bloggers by providing us autographed copies of his books for giveaways. How awesome is that?

I have one brand new, autographed copy of Boy Toy to give away! If you haven’t read this book, or any book by him, you need to enter this contest! The contest will run from today, September 16th through Friday, October 2nd at 5 pm. Leave a comment on this post for one entry. You can get one additional entry for each place you post about this contest, such as your blog or Twitter. Please leave links to where these are so I can keep track of how many entries you get. ALSO, please provide a way I can reach you if you win – email, etc. Contest is only open to residents of the US.

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What is YA Lit?

Mary Pearson has written an excellent article discussing the question of “What is YA lit?” and the attitudes and opinions some people have of it. She uses great examples that dispel some of the ideas one might have about what makes something YA lit. I’d love to plaster this article in a lot of places because I feel like some adults – particularly some educators – brush YA lit to the side, lumping it with chick lit-type silliness. I wish more people would recognize the richness in the variety of YA lit – it is just as varied as the adult fiction market. Ms. Pearson says all this in her article, and much better than I do. Check it out.

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

catchingfire

I’m not going to write a full review of Catching Fire because I think there has been more than enough buzz and blogging about it for the past several months. Not that it is not worthy – oh, it is! I really enjoyed Catching Fire; I liked it more than The Hunger Games. I think part of it is due to the fact that it doesn’t focus on one specific event like the first book does. Catching Fire allows the reader to see more about the daily lives in some of the different districts, and you learn more about the politics, and delve a lot further into many of the different relationships. I don’t want to say too much and risk spoiling it for someone, so I’ll just say this – if you liked The Hunger Games, you really need to read this sequel. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, I highly recommend reading it just so you can get to Catching Fire.

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Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen

AlongForRide_FINAL.indd

Since her parents’ divorce, Auden has lived with her mother, who is a professor and a successful writer. It is the summer before she leaves for college and Auden decides she needs a change of scenery, so she goes to live with her father (also a professor and a less successful writer), his young wife, and their new baby in a small beach town.

Growing up, both of her parents treated her like an adult, expecting her to be mature both personally and scholastically. Because of this, Auden did not experience a “normal” childhood. She never had close girlfriends, never attended a dance, never learned to ride a bike. The lack of experiences becomes evident when Auden begins working in her stepmother’s store. The three teens who work in the store are typical girls: they love clothes and boys, they dance around the store, they are comfortable in their age in a way Auden cannot relate.

For a long time, Auden has suffered from insomnia. To escape the daily routine, when she cannot sleep she roams the town, looking for places to get decent coffee and kill the long nighttime hours. It is in the night when she meets and slowly gets to know Eli, a local boy with his own burdens. The two of them decide Auden should experience the typical childhood milestones and set out to make it so. Auden also learns some things about family and friendships along the way.

Sarah Dessen has written another fantastic book. I love Auden, and I love that she’s not a stereotypical girl – very relatable. And I love that the other girls who seem typical on the surface turn out to not be so typical and teach Auden and the reader a thing or two about making quick judgements. Eli is adorable. The setting is crafted beautifully. While I was lucky to read this beach town novel while sitting on the beach, this is the kind of book you can pick up in the middle of February and be transported to July.

Ms. Dessen is skilled at writing books that deal with weightier issues without making it a heavy, depressing problem novel. If you’ve never read anything by her, this would be a great place to start! While the cover is eye catching, it is misleading about the characters – specifically Auden. I know I am echoing the sentiments around the internet when I say that whoever designed the cover must have not read the book.

4 and 1/2 stars

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Infinite Jest update

I have to admit, I’m not doing well with Infinite Summer. I stalled out over a month ago around page 300, and didn’t pick it up for several weeks until I was due to have drinks with a couple friends to talk about it. The day before, I jumped back in and caught up to page 526, skimming several chunks of pages. I do plan to finish it some day, but it won’t be in time for the end of Infinite Summer, and I won’t be able to do it without skimming more pages. I recognize the talent of David Foster Wallace, and I enjoy the story he has put together, but I lose patience with parts of the book. The conversations between Marathe and Steeply put me to sleep. The long descriptive parts try my patience, such as when Gately drives around Boston. Maybe I’d have more patience for these things in a shorter book, or one with less characters, but I have no desire to plow through these sections when I’d rather read more about Hal and all the addicts. I know all these sections have a purpose, and I will probably miss out on large important things by the time I get to the end, but I just can’t do it.

So, we’ll see when I finish. It’s Labor Day, and I’d rather not spend it laboring away at this book when I could be enjoying others.

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