Posts Tagged ‘teen books’

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Sprout by Dale Peck

July 4, 2009

 Title: Sprout

 Author: Dale Peck

 Release: May 26, 2009

 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

 Contains: Coming-of-age, Drama, Relationships.

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Writing: 10

Plot: 8

Characters: 9

Wow Factor: 8

Summary (from Amazon.com): Sprout Bradford has a secret. It’s not what you think—he’ll tell you he’s gay. He’ll tell you about his dad’s drinking and his mother’s death. The green fingerprints everywhere tell you when he last dyed his hair. But neither the reader nor Sprout are prepared for what happens when Sprout suddenly finds he’s had a more profound effect on the lives around him than he ever thought possible. Sprout is both hilarious and gripping; a story of one boy at odds with the expected.

Review: Sprout was definitely an interesting read. The number one thing I loved about the book was the writing. Dale Peck is amazing, with his metaphors, similies, and way of wording. I highlighted lines of the book I loved and I never write in books. The book is written as if Sprout is just having a conversation about his life to us, and it was magical in that perspective. I really liked the other characters as well: Ty, Ian, and Ruth. The story line was one I don’t often read: Sprout was trying to win a state essay contest, he’s still having problems getting over his mother’s death, and he might just have found love. This book may have been playfully written but it does have a dark side. There’s a lot of real-life problems discussed in this book, including death, abuse, and broken relationships. My one complaint is that it was a tad confusing as I’m still thinking about the end and what it means.

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Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

January 20, 2009

Title: Skeleton Creek

Author: Patrick Carman

Release Date: Feb. 10, 2009.

Edition: Paperback

Number of Pages: 186.

Grade: B

Contains: Coming-of-age, Relationships, Drama, Suspense, Mystery.

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Writing: 8

Plot: 9

Characters: 8

Wow Factor: 8

Summary (scholastic.com): Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek … and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out … and then emails the clips for Ryan to see. 

In a new, groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts — Ryan’s text in the book, and Sarah’s videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.

Review: This book is the first of its kind. Targeted to reluctant readers, it asks that you read twenty pages of Ryan’s thoughts and adventures and your “reward” is to watch a video made by Sarah that relates to it. It’s a ghost story. I bet you’re wondering if it’s good enough to make your knees shake? I truthfully was scared throughout the book. I think the videos had a great impact in my whole perception of the book because I could view what Ryan was talking about in his journal. The videos just make it that much more like you’re really there, witnessing whatever this ghost is.

While I was reading it I had the sense that it was kind of like National Treasure meets lonelygirl15. It was short, quick, and effective. 

But I did have some problems with it. What if you’re not by a computer when you’re reading? This happened to me more than once. So I tried watching the video through my iPhone, but it didn’t work. Another thing is that I wished the supporting characters had been more developed. I felt as though I didn’t truly know them as much as I knew Ryan and Sarah and hope that in the next book there will be more explanation about them.

The ending was a total cliffhanger. But I do think it’s one more step to getting reluctant readers to pick up the second book in the series. And perhaps the piece that makes it that much more interactive is that this book is being speculated to be real over at skeletoncreekisreal.com

I recommend this book to boys 9-13 who don’t really enjoy reading. But if you’re like me– a total ghost stories and suspense fan– you’ll really get a kick out of this.

Want to watch a book trailer? Here ya go:


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Books I Read in Dec. 2008

December 31, 2008

Here’s what I read this past month in chronological order:

By the way, reviews for all of these will come shortly.

1. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers: Violent, sad, and good (at the end, especially).

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling: Really amazing. I am so late… but better late then never.

3. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: Inspiring, sad, beautiful.

4. Girl vs. Bear: Stories from the 80s by Lisa Kerr: I really enjoyed this! 

5. Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman: Scary and interesting.

6. In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg: Less than I expected, but still good.


 

Needless to say, it was a very productive month. Thank you, Winter Break, without I wouldn’t have read three of these.
NFL New England Patriots from Fanzz
 

What did YOU read? Leave it in the comments 🙂 Happy New Year, btw!

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Interview with Susane Colasanti!

December 27, 2008

Susane Colasanti is the awesome author of When It Happens and Take Me There. I have read When It Happens and have Take Me There on my shelf. I really loved how true Susane’s characters were in When It Happens, especially the main girl character, Sara. She was nice enough to answer these interview questions for me. I hope you enjoy and remember to leave a comment at the end to let Susane and me know what you thought!

Links: 

Website:  http://www.susanecolasanti.com/
Blog:  http://windowlight.livejournal.com/
MySpace:  http://www.myspace.com/susanecolasanti
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Susane-Colasanti/678479550

 

Questions in bold, answers in normal text. Drumroll, please…

 

1.  Are you working on something now? Can you tell us anything about it?

 

I just finished polishing my third book, Waiting for You, which will be released on July 9.  It’s about a girl who’s dealing with depression and a boy who wants to help her.  Now I’m writing my fourth book, Something Like Fate.

 

2.  Were you like Sara from When It Happens while growing up?

Yes, Sara and I have a lot in common.  She is the character closest to my heart for this reason.  I’ve always been a dreamer, hoping that one day I would be living a better life than the one I had as a teen.  That hope helped me get through some hard times.  I never stopped believing that things would improve, and they did.  Sara has the same passionate hope for her future.  Also, we both have koala bears named Chez and we’re both organization freaks.

 

3.  Would you ever think of writing a sequel to When It Happens?

This is probably the most frequent question readers ask me (tied with whether When It Happens will be made into a movie).  I’d love to write a sequel and find out what happens to Sara and Tobey in college.  But it wouldn’t be for a while, since my next few books have already been planned out.  I’m also a bit hesitant because I wouldn’t want to disappoint my readers with a sequel that didn’t meet their expectations.  That’s a challenge I’m not yet ready to take on.

 

4.  What are your favorite YA books? Authors?

It’s righteous that there are so many incredible young-adult authors out there today!  When I was a teen, this was not the case.  The selection of teen books was quite lacking back in the day.  I’m so relieved that teens now have many quality choices to keep them reading.

 

My favorite YA authors are Laurie Halse Anderson and Blake Nelson.  I really admire their unique styles and ability to capture intense emotions without overcrowding the page.  They also tend to focus on dialogue, which I find to be the most interesting part of a story.  Some of my fave books by other authors are The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (dude, I reread that book and watched the movie so many times), The Late Great Me by Sandra Scoppettone, Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

 

5.  What do you like best about being an author?

Connecting with teens.  As a high school science teacher, I got to work with teens every day.  But as an author, I can reach out to more teens and hopefully improve their lives in some way.  Even if someone likes reading one of my books to escape for a while, I’ve maybe made their day a little brighter and that makes me happy.  Ideally, I want readers to feel better about their problems by relating to my characters and how they deal with common problems.  In this way, I hope my readers feel less alone.

 

6.  What inspired you to write When It Happens?

My senior year of high school sparked the idea for the story’s main plot.  Tobey was inspired by someone real.  Some of the events in the book are based on things that actually happened to me in high school.  In this way, When It Happens reflects a time in my life that none of my other books have.

 

I’ve always been obsessed with the concept of soul mates.  I know that soul mates are real because I’ve had more than one in my life.  I wanted When It Happens to capture the energy of that connection in a way that hopefully inspires readers to never give up searching for that kind of passion in their own lives.  Also, I wanted to write a sweet love story that’s fun to read.

 

7.  What kind of music do you listen to?

My main musical taste would be classified as old-school.  Musicians like the Cure, R.E.M., Paul Simon, and James Taylor have always rocked my world.  Some stuff from this century is good, too.  I adore John Mayer (he’s always incorporated in my books) and am a proud guitar-pick-carrying member of the John Mayer Fan Club.  I also love Coldplay, Death Cab and Maroon 5.  Although I tend to play my favorite CDs over and over, I’m always open to hearing new music.  When lyrics speak to me and sound like my life, I’m there.

 

8.  Why do you write in alternate narrations?

As a teen reader, every young-adult book I remember reading (except for one) was only told from the girl’s perspective.  I was always dying to know what the boy character was thinking, what he talked about with his friends, and how he really felt about the main girl character.  So I promised myself that if I ever wrote a book, I would show the boy’s perspective as well so my readers could understand a more complete truth about him.  In Take Me There, I thought adding a second girl’s perspective would enrich the story.

 

However, my third and fourth books are only told in one perspective.  For those stories, revealing the main boy character’s point of view would have been giving away too much.

 

9.  What’s a typical day for you like?

Writing in the afternoon usually works best for me unless I’m on deadline, in which case I work all day.  When I’m working on a new book, I write five pages a day, five days a week.  If I’m revising, I tend to work in the afternoon until my brain is fried. 

 

In the morning, I like to take care of online stuff, like email, my blog, and checking in at Facebook and MySpace.  Some mornings I go to the gym and get busy on the elliptical.  My gym has personal monitors on the machines, so I like to go at 11:00 to watch The View.  The best part of my mornings is not having to get up at a ridiculously early hour anymore.  Yay for daylight! 

 

10. List your current Top Five Obsessions.

The Office (mostly John Krasinski), full-spectrum light bulbs, Death Cab’s Transatlanticism, Gelly Roll pens, Bliss body butter

 

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Yes, I know, she’s super cool. Now, what did you think? Are you excited for Susane’s new book Waiting for You

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Fly On The Wall by E. Lockhart

December 26, 2008

Title: Fly on the Wall

Author: E. Lockhart

Edition: Harcover

Number of Pages:182.

Grade: C+

Contains: Coming-of-age, Drama, Romance, Relationships.

 

Anaylis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):
Writing: 7
Plot: 9
Characters: 8
Wow: 7

 

Summary: This book deals with a girl named Gretchen Yee who is very much antisocial. She only has one true friend, Katya, until she starts “being busy.” Gretchen is the ordinary girl at Manhattan High School for the Arts, a school where everybody strives to be different. On a usual day Gretchen is flustered-maybe about her ex Shane who is not “the new guy” anymore but the popular one or that her dad is divorcing her mom because he found a new girlfriend- and wonders why guys are the way they are. As silly as it may sound, she says she wishes she could be a fly on the boys’ locker room. Little does she know… the next day she wakes up and she’s a fly! She uses her new-found body to spy on the males in her class and home, including her crush Titus. She sees that guys do have problems and even feelings. If and when she turns back into a human, will she see things differently?  

Review: I enjoyed this book, sure, but it was definitely not E. Lockhart’s best. It was whatever, truthfully. I thought the characters were different than the typical ones used in YA books. They were cool, and I could relate to Grethen. I especially liked Titus. One thing that I kinda don’t understand is what happens with Carlo/Xavier/Gunther. What’s the point in having them in the book? I do kind of want to be a fly… because who doesn’t want to know what the boys in our lives do. The ending was rather predictable but still happy and cute. It was quick and easy, so I recommend it for a nice summer read.

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Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

December 23, 2008

 Title: Far From You

Author: Lisa Schroeder

Edition: Paperback

Number of Pages: 368

Grade: B+

Contains: Coming-of-Age, Drama, Fantasy, Relationships, Romance.

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Characters: 10

Plot: 9

Writing: 10

Wow Factor: 9

 

Since Sunday, a very special release has been in the making… leading up to today. First Liv posted her VLOG, reading her favorite excerpt from the book. Then I posted my VLOG yesterday. And today Lisa has posted her VLOG. I hope you have checked those all out and entered the contest. Lisa’s book Far From You released today. HAPPY RELEASE DAY, LISA!!!! (Wish Lisa a happy release day at the link of her VLOG.) Make sure you go to the bookstore today or ask Santa for the book under the tree. Just make sure you read this book, because you will NOT be disappointed.

 

Summary (from lisaschroederbooks.com): Do you believe in angels? FAR FROM YOU is a story of love and loss, and reminds us what’s really important in life. Fans of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME are sure to enjoy this novel-in-verse feauturing 16-year-old Alice, a singer/songwriter who’s had her share of hard times, and unfortunately, has more to come. What will pull her through? Her music? The love of her boyfriend, Blaze? Or perhaps, an angel, here on earth?

 

ReviewIf I could sum up this book in one word the word would be “beautiful”. We’re told this heart-wrenching story of a girl named Alice who lost her mother to cancer and isn’t as connected to her dad now that he has remarried and is expecting a new baby. Alice’s emotions definitely come across strongly. I felt bad for Alice, I wanted to do something to help her.

I could totally relate to the story because I have a stepmom and half-siblings also. Everything Alice goes through in the book, I understood how hard it must be for her and for her family. I truly believe girls in this world are like Alice proving that Lisa Schroeder knows how to create authentic characters. Oh, and yes there is fantasy in the book… it’s just very subtle. That is something I was very glad to see because you all already know I’m not a fantasy-junkie. It was a good amount and it entailed a phenomenal message.

Since it is told in verse, it is a quick read. I read it in one sitting. But truthfully, I had to stop more then once to think about what was occurring. This is not a cute summer read; it is really an impacting read. Lisa Schroeder KNOWS how to write. She knows how to write very well… the words she chooses, the way she organizes them s l o w l y and carefully. I want her to continue writing… I’m definitely a fan. 

In the end, I was a bigger person. I cried, but I was still a bigger person. I felt more of a connection even with my own stepmom and went and told her about the book. This book is something I veryyyyy highly recommend. So, what the heck are you waiting for? Go BUY IT!

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Girl Week Over At Reviewer X’s Place

December 17, 2008

Steph is freaking amazing. She’s having a week-long (awesome) event called Girl Week. Basically superb authors are stopping by with guest blogs and interviews… all pertaining to feminism and strong females! Of course, she couldn’t have stopped there… so she’s bringing in a crazy amount of book reviews and of course contests! 

Click here to see the Table of Contents (aka everything that is happening). 

So check on over until Dec. 21 and celebrate WOMEN! (Because uh, we rock.)

 

Edit: Here are some great things I’ve found so far on her blog:

This interview with Melissa Walker.

This guest blog, which is awesome, by CK Kelley Martin.

This interview with Libba Bray. She’s so cool.

This interview with Megan McCafferty. Amazing much?