The NetGalley/Edelweiss Challenge

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I’m pretty excited about a reading challenge that I’ve signed up for: The Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge, hosted by Falling for YA! I signed up for Edelweiss a few years ago, because I was part of Simon & Schuster’s e-galley program. Eventually that switched over to Edelweiss and then I signed up on NetGalley, thanks to Jessica Love, who got me wrapped up in all of this. :-) She mentioned that teachers are auto-approved for a number of publishers (I think Disney and Scholastic?).

So, you sign up for these sites and as a teacher who isn’t a book blogger, it feels a little dirty if I don’t follow through with at least with a Goodreads review. Sometimes I don’t even get to that, but this challenge will force it, in a good way. NetGalley is making providing feedback easier and easier, where quick feedback like star ratings and checking a box of if I’d adopt it for the classroom or not, are now options.

Enter the Falling For YA N&E Challenge. I now feel like I have a goal for my reading and my blog. I’m going to commit to the Silver Level, which is 25 books read in 2014 from NetGalley or Edelweiss. I’m going to blog at least once a month for the review round-up, and link up at Falling for YA. I have always kept this Excel graph of my e-galleys, but I’ve reorganized it so that it has “first priority” books (those published first) listed at the top. My graph does include the Goodreads rating (I update it probably once a month). I don’t know if that’s totally fair to include that, but, it helps me prioritize sometimes.
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What about you? How do you prioritize and organize your TBR?

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Laurie Halse Anderson in January!

Please allow me to fangirl for a second. I about died back in November when Laurie Halse Anderson announced her book tour for her latest release, The Impossible Knife of Memory. Her first two stops will be in Washington State! I was fortunate to receive the e-ARC from Edelweiss several months ago and will start it any day now.

Anderson was in WA a couple of years ago and I missed the tour, but it’s something I’ve never totally gotten over in terms of my book world experiences. That sounds like hyperbole. But, Speak is one of my all-time favorite books, adult or young adult. Anderson’s books are painstakingly researched and therefore are authentic and raw. She handles delicate topics with care and even humor in some cases, calling her books Resiliency Literature (as opposed to Young Adult Literature). In my experience, her books are unisex and about topics that others are afraid to tackle or that others just aren’t able to write about with such honesty and finesse.

As part of my teacher preparation program at WSU, I took a course called Young Adult Literature, and we got to read books that would be popular for young adults–our future students. I wasn’t reading much outside of my school requirements and the books for this course were all books that were accessible and engaging for me, even as someone flirting with the outlying years of being a “young adult,” myself. My favorite book that we read in the course was Speak. The voice of the main character, Melinda, was realistic for a teen. It was the first book where I’d seen capitalization used for monikers that Melinda used, and lists (this is a me thing, and I loved seeing an author use it). I didn’t realize there were books being written like that, for this age group, that weren’t about girls struggling with wearing make-up and getting a boyfriend. The message is clear and important, yet the reader isn’t hit over the head with that message. My good friend (and now department leader!), Sarah, and I would talk about how important Speak is for young people to read–males and females–and hoped it could become part of our future curriculums, where ever we might end up.

Anderson’s books create readers. When Sarah and I did get to incorporate Speak into our Literature Circles unit in 2008/2009, boys and girls listed it as a top choice to read. After completing the book, students wanted to read other books by Anderson. It was a teacher’s dream, because students were excited about books and reading, and were talking about what they’d learned.

I can’t say enough about why I admire Anderson as a writer. I look forward to diving into The Impossible Knife of Memory and listening to her speak on Tuesday, January 7th at South Kitsap HS in Port Orchard, WA. Thanks to Eagle Harbor Book Company for making that visit happen, and for communicating with me about the change in location!

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2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Best in Show

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Thanks, SO MUCH, to Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman for hosting this very fun blogging event. If I don’t blog for months, I still try to participate in this blogfest because I very much enjoy those women, and, I also want to do my part to promote great YA. Thanks, ladies!

Thursday, December 19th: Best in Show

Favorite Cover:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith



Cutest Couple(s):

Callie & Alex | Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Anna & Bennett | Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
Cath & Levi | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Josh & Nastya | The Sea of Tranquility
Will & Zoe | Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner.):
I don’t believe I’ve read a book that will win, sadly. I don’t really know what the criteria is or how it’s selected! Perhaps I should just go back and read some previous winners. :-) Check out the current and past winners, here.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you couldn’t put down.):
Winger | Andrew Smith

Best Repeat Performance (Favorite sequel or follow-up.):
Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel:
Time After Time | Tamara Ireland Stone
**Let me just say that I’ve been avoiding starting news series when and where I can. So, I think this is one of the only ends of a series that I read! I don’t even know if I can say it was my favorite, but it was… effective?

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:
Wren & Charlie | The Infinite Moment of Us
Crown of Midnight
Callie & Alex | Where the Stars Still Shine

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.):
The Sea of Tranquility | Katja Millay
Check out Katja talking about her publishing journey. It’s pretty amazing!


Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year published BEFORE 2013.):
This is Not a Test | Courtney Summers
The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald


Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry:

Winger | Andrew Smith


Most Pleasant Surprise (Book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.):
Dare You To | Katie McGarry
This is a bit of a stretch because I liked Pushing the Limits, but didn’t love it. So, I was a little tepid about starting Dare You To. I ended up loving Dare You To!

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle:
False Sight | Dan Krokos
All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)
Nobody But Us | Kristin Holbrook
Golden | Jessi Kirby


Favorite Outlier (Favorite picture, middle grade, or adult 2013 book):
I read a bunch of New Adult outside YA and it’s hard to say which one was my favorite! I think Unteachable by Leah Raeder was extremely well written and Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein was hilarious! Both broke the NA mold in different ways for me.
Required Reading – which series do you think I *have* to start in 2014?
Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
The Selection series by Kiera Cass
Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
Something I don’t even know about, yet?

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2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Elements of Fiction

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It’s Day 3 of the YA Superlatives Blogfest, hosted by Jessica Love, Allison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman! Let’s take a look at some great YA from the Class of 2013!

Wednesday, December 18th | Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot: The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
I’m not done with this book–at all–but I am hooked and scared of this alien apocalypse plot. I wish my mind thought like this! Authors are total rock stars.

Most Formidable World: The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
The future in All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill

Well, yeah. So far it feels pretty hopeless and any survival tale makes me think, Welp, I’d be screwed!
Am I becoming a sci-fi nerd? I’ll own it, if so. :-) I just love a time travel story and this is a fresh take on time travel for sure. The Director and The Doctor have definitely made life particularly difficult for the U.S. of the future. What is also interesting is that the states are overtaken in AOY in a few years–not generations or decades, and with technology today, why not? But it scares me!

Wanderlust-Inducing: Just One Day | Gayle Forman
Allyson’s journey abroad, and, more specifically her willingness to take risks and hop a train to the next destination, unplanned, etc. is definitely wanderlust-inspiring.

Loveliest Prose: The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater
Stiefvater’s writing is really just the best, right? There were a lot of great books with amazing voice, which I’m going to say I think is a little different from lovely prose/writing.

Best First Line:
“There will be no awakening.” The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey

“Dying really isn’t so bad after you’ve done it once.” The Sea of Tranquility | Katja Millay

Most Dynamic Character: Nastya | The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Ryan Dean West | Winger by Andrew Smith
Nastya is a perplexing character who is a selective mute, yet is totally dynamic and intriguing.
Oh, Ryan Dean. :-)

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending: Nobody But Us | Kristin Halbrook
I’m going to assume there will be many Allegiant references on other lists, so I wanted to select something different. I feel like this category is a little spoiler-y, but I want to change it up. So, NBU!

Best Performance in a Supporting Role: Joey | Winger by Andrew Smith
Drew | The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Joey is diplomatic, well-liked, and a good friend to Ryan Dean. He is regularly giving blunt, sound advice to RD, despite RD’s pipsqueak-y, underclassman status. :-)

Yeah, yeah, I obviously love this book. But it’s because of the characters. They jump off the page and I want to be friends with them all. Drew is a friend to Josh and Nastya, although his friendship with Nastya definitely evolves over time. I think he’s loyal to both and able to separate the relationships when necessary. In the end, he’s there when it counts.

Best Use of Theme: How to Love | Katie Cotugno
I really, really liked Reena’s epiphany at the end of the book. I think it’s so true to life!
There were lots of other possibilities for this category, including Just One DayEleanor & ParkOCD Love Story, and Golden.

Tomorrow is the last day of the YA Superlatives Blogfest for 2013. I don’t know how that’s possible already! Check back in for my Best of Show post tomorrow.

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