2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Popularity Contest

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The YA Superlative Blogfest is hosted by Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman. The goal of the blogfest is to promote and share extraordinary young adult novels (and have fun, of course!).

TWO DISCLAIMERS:
1 – I am not having much luck with formatting so this post may look a mess when it goes live. Sorry.
2 – Part of my formatting woes include not being able to caption a picture. I have included a couple great illustrations from Simini Blocker, who is amazing. She’s loves YA and has brilliant, vibrant illustrations that bring some of my favorite stories to life!

It’s Day 2 of the YA Superlatives Blogfest!
Tuesday, December 17th: Popularity Contest

Class Clown: Ryan Dean West | Winger by Andrew Smith
Ryan Dean isn’t overtly, intentionally funny but I loved his self-deprecating humor.
Most Likely to Become a Rock Star: Kiri | Wild Awake by Hillary T. Smith

This category was a struggle for me! Kiri is a piano player, so maybe someone will come up with a better idea for this one. 😉 I loved how E&P were all about music, and same for Anna and Bennett in Time Between Us. Can that make them rock stars? I think Park could be a rock star.
Mostly Likely to Start a Riot: Tris &/or Four in Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Park | Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


I mean, for a variety of reasons (actions in the novel, the reactions of the fans after reading the novel) these two are a more controversial than ever.

Park couldn’t incite a riot in the crazy aggressive sense, but I think he’s starting a riot with his father. He’s adorable and inspiring, but in the 80s he would have stuck out and been a bit subversive!

Biggest Flirt: Drew | The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay


Expect to see a lot about this book now that it’s been declared eligible. So, Drew. I LOVED this trio of friends in TSoT and I think Drew’s banter with Nastya and his other classmates felt very high school to me; I knew some of those player kind of guys that everyone loved, and that’s Drew!
Fashion King and/or Queen: Bea | OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

Costume designer wannabe who wears vintage and retro-inspired clothing (that I always thought sounded awesome, but of course makes her a bit of an outlier in her school).
Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF: Anna | Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
Anna gets this title two years in a row!
Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School: Four | Allegiant by Veronica Roth
&
Most Likely to Become President: Four | Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I need some sort of therapy for how much I love this character, I think.
Quirkiest Character: Cath | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

She’s quirky in what I find to be a cool nerd kind of way, and I feel like we could totally be best friends. 🙂
Villain You Love to Hate: Mr. Gray | The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Sawyer LeGrande | How to Love by Katie Cotugno

I was pretty fascinated by Mr. Gray and ended up rooting for him almost more than anyone in the crew! Does this make me weird?!

Sawyer… not a villain in the traditional sense AT ALL but I’ve learned that some people find him highly unlikable. All I’m thinking of is that scene in A League of Their Own where Marla is singing to Nelson: “With all your faults, I love you still…” 😉
Favorite Parental FigureDad | Where the Stars Still Shine
Uncle (Scott) | Dare You To by Katie McGarry

I think I’ve talked about this one already. I really liked Callie’s dad and how he steps up and does his best with Callie, when she’s used to being a one woman army against the world.

Uncle Scott in Dare You To similarly steps up and provides support in many ways to Beth.
Coolest Nerd: Gansey | The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Ryan Dean West | Winger by Andrew Smith

I mean, there’s always Gansey! THE coolest nerd. I like how nothing seems to rattle him, except maybe for the issues with the ley lines, the mystery of Glendower, etc. But nothing that is meant to, like Kavinsky’s antagonizing.
Oh, Ryan Dean is just adorable. He is totally, adorably clueless.

Wednesday, December 18th: Elements of Fiction
Thursday, December 19th: Best in Show

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Filed under Bookish, Review, YA Superlative Blogfest

2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Head of the Class

Well, I set my Goodreads challenge goal at 50 books, and it looks like I’ll accomplish that by the end of the year, but, of course I didn’t get to every book I had hoped I would by the time of this blogfest. As a teacher, I get a LOT of books in during holiday break. 🙂 And, I read a lot of books but a good handful are manuscripts and some were not published in 2013.

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The YA Superlative Blogfest is hosted by Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman. The goal of the blogfest is to promote and share extraordinary young adult novels (and have fun, of course!).

I love a good blogfest (Lists! Categories! Deadlines!) but apologies in advance if I peg a book as something that it’s not intended to be. Please consider it a compliment. I liked your book. A lot.

Apologies in advance for repetitive choices and/or double selections.

Monday, December 16th: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian Allegiant | Veronica Roth
I don’t care what you say, this series is close to my heart. Also, of my, like, three dystopian reads this year, it was definitely my favorite!

Favorite Science Fiction All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill
Tie? Honorable Mention? – The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
This one snuck up on me! We read the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury in my classes this year, and the kids ate it up. I liked this twist on time travel. It is mildly dystopian, but, even if you’re over dystopian don’t overlook AoY!
I just started this one and am 100 pages in but feel like it’ll be one of my favorites of 2013. Apparently I love a good sci-fi/alien tale these days (and I used to be so adamantly against sci-fi!). 🙂


Favorite Fantasy
The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater
Honorable Mention: Relic | Renee Collins

Stiefvater’s writing, the twists, the extra look at Ronan’s life & background, and the continued mystery of what will happen with Gansey just keeps this series at the top of my must-read ASAP when available list.

I had the privilege of reading Relic a number of times and offering editorial feedback during its publication process. I have to say, at first synopsis read I didn’t think it would be my thing. This story is set in the Wild West but in world where bones from now-extinct magical creatures can be harvested and used for the powers. It’s full of action and awesome characters!


Favorite Contemporary
Winger | Andrew Smith
HM: Where the Stars Still Shine | Trish Doller
HM: OCD Love Story | Corey Ann Haydu
This book is so wonderful . The voice of the male narrator is witty, the character draws cartoons, he’s a fish out of water in a boarding school, and is confined to O-Hall with the school’s biggest miscreants. The ending of the novel is a bit abrupt, but, I loved the overall story so much it didn’t really phase me.

WtSSS blew. My. Mind. I don’t usually like issue books and early one we’re introduced to Callie, who has a horrible mother and as such, a horrible home life. Callie ends up in her father’s custody and he is my kind of YA book parental figure.

I just finished this! Props to any book that can take what you think to know to be true about a subject (OCD, in this case) and totally rocks them. Bea and Beck are a hopelessly compulsive and adorably smitten, but intriguingly flawed.


Favorite Action/Adventure – Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas
HM: False Sight | Dan Krokos
The action really delivered in this Throne of Glass installment. I liked ToG but loved CoM. Celaena truly kicks ass in CoM as an assassin, liked I’d hoped for in ToG.

I don’t know how else to describe Krokos’ books other than they are totally action-packed! And, as I’ve mentioned before I keep reading these because of an interesting story line for Miranda and the something-for-everyone factor. 🙂


Favorite Comedy
Winger | Andrew Smith

Laughed out loud. Seriously, I was laughing and needing to stifle my laughter because my husband was sleeping next to me but I couldn’t hold it in. 🙂 This book is genuinely humorous.


Favorite Mystery
Golden | Jessi Kirby
The main character, Parker, felt relatable in that she definitely knows something is missing in her life and needs some action, adventure, and finds it in unraveling a mystery surrounding her town’s “it” couple from ten years prior.


Favorite Romance
– Fangirl | Rainbow Rowell
HM: Nobody But Us | Kristin Halbrook
Every time I think about this book I fall in love all over again. I just thought everything about it was great, but particularly the romance element.

These two. Ugh, their story is lovely and so, so gripping. I feel like I need to reread it immediately! A really stunning debut from Halbrook.


Favorite Paranormal
Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas
So many cool paranormal elements in CoM. Maas has built a quite the fascinating, magical kingdom. I mean, the book has a map so that automatically qualifies CoM as great paranormal/fantasy, right? 🙂


Favorite Family Drama –
How to Love | Katie Cotugno
HM: Where the Stars Still Shine | Trish Doller
Oh, Reena’s family. Their dynamics are not puppies and roses and I loved that about them. I loved their best friendship with Sawyer’s family. I loved their religious undertones. So incredibly realistic.


Callie’s life is a mess, which is why her father stepping in was so sweet and spectacular. I love strong parents in a novel (when they’re often absent in YA) and the fact that her mom was such a mess made her dad even better.


Favorite Genre Bender – 
 Time After Time | Tamara Ireland Stone
Is it Science Fiction? Is it Paranormal? Is it a Romance? There are Contemporary elements for Bennett… I’m so confused! 🙂 But I really loved it! A great sequel to Time Between Us. Truly I think Anna and Bennet are two of my YA faves. And I love them together.

Abstention: Favorite Historical Fiction, although perhaps Relic could fit. 🙂


Keep tuning in, folks! I will be doing my best to continue participating throughout the week:
Tuesday, December 17th: Popularity Contest
Wednesday, December 18th: Elements of Fiction
Thursday, December 19th: Best in Show

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Filed under Bookish, Review, YA Superlative Blogfest

End of Year Book Survey 2013

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Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner posted her fourth annual book survey, and I love a good survey! Although I haven’t posted about books as much as I’d hoped in the last year–like, at all–I did read a lot. And, my reading becomes kind of my essential reading (meaning, books I believe I’ll *really* like) because I have no time. 🙂 So, here goes for 2013!

I am reading fervently so I can squeeze in some books before I blog for the YA Superlatives Blogfest (wish me luck!):
OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

Best in Books 2013
1. The best book I read in 2013My ultimate fave? The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Winger by Andrew Smith

2. Book I was excited about but didn’t love – The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen or Just One Day by Gayle Forman
**HUGE disclaimer–I liked the books, just didn’t love them. I think there’s a lot of hype that deservedly surrounds these authors and with JOD in particular I think I was just not in the right mindset. I don’t know…sorry!

3. Most surprising in 2013 – Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
I was pretty lukewarm about the first book but LOVED this second in the series!
Can I add that I’m surprised that last year all I did was rave about The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves is nowhere on this End of Year Book Survey. I don’t know what that means because I did love it.

4. Book I’ve recommended the most in 2013 – The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

5. Best series I discovered in 2013 – I am hardcore trying to avoid series if I can help it. My *new* discovery is probably the All Our Yesterdays duology by Cristin Terrill. I thought I was burnt out on dystopian, but I would say that this is sci-fi dystopian and the time travel element is what’s making it fresh for me!

6. Favorite new authors I discovered in 2013 – Rainbow Rowell. I still need to read Attachments, which is poised on a bookshelf ready when I’m ready, but she’s definitely an auto-buy author for me!

7. Best book out of my comfort zone or was a new genre for me – Oh man, I totally stuck to my comfort zones this year (see #21). I feel like I *should* branch out more but I don’t have time for it—sometimes I just need the comfort of something I know I’ll enjoy. (Enter: recommendations from Katy, Rachel, Jessica and Dahlia.)

I was uncomfortable with the topics in Unteachable by Leah Raeder and although I believe it’s classified as YA it most definitely isn’t something I could recommend to a student or put in my classroom. (It’s insanely upper-YA but more realistically NA contemporary erotic romance? There is a mature content disclaimer on Goodreads and I see it is on NA shelves more than YA shelves.) So, that was outside my comfort zone not only because of the romantic situations, but also the teacher-student relationship angle. Really amazing writing, though!  

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book – Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Not totally because of the writing or plot, but just because I read it super quickly and had to know the resolution for these characters that I’ve grown to love!

9. Book I’m most likely to re-read – I’ve already reread a couple of times: The Sea of Tranquility

10. Favorite coverEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith, Winger by Andrew Smith

11. Most memorable character(s) – Nastya & Josh in The Sea of Tranquility, Will from Nobody But Us, Callie from Where the Stars Still Shine

12. Most beautifully written – I have read AMAZING books this year. The most powerful voice for me has been in…
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
How to Love by Katie Cotugno
Unteachable by Leah Raeder
Winger by Andrew Smith

13. Book that had the greatest impact on me – I think Winger by Andrew Smith. The voice of this male 14-year-old is just wonderful and I think (although I was not a 14-year-old prodigy) his struggle to make true friends, his self-deprecating ways, etc. resonated with me. Plus, Joey.

14. Book(s) I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read – The Great Gatsby! I need to read more classics.

15. Favorite Passage – I can’t even pretend to have a favorite line. I’ll find one and add it later. 🙂 I highlight EVERYTHING–particularly in those books mentioned in #12 above. I’m going to have to start to blog my quotables. I highlight so many great things, and then don’t do anything with them!

16. Shortest & Longest book I read
Allegiant by Veronica Roth – 526 pages
One Week Girlfriend (Drew + Fable #1) by Monica Murphy – 155 pages

17. Scene that had me reeling (WTF Moment, Epic Revelation, Steamy Kiss, etc.) –
Allegiant and Winger. Those two, in addition to How to Love and Unteachable had me shooting off emails to my bookish friends with what did you think?, WTF, and/or  “help me understand!”-like comments. 😉

18. Favorite Relationship – The triad in The Sea of Tranquility. I love to read about strong friendships, particularly between guys and girls with guys, and this trio was fun and intriguing and I wanted to be friends with these beautifully flawed people. 

19. Favorite book from an author I read previouslyTime After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone or Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. Both sophomore books from each author and both missed the sophomore slump by a long shot! Oh, Dare You To by Katie McGarry would fit here, as well. 🙂

20. Best book read based on a recommendation from someone else – How to Love by Katie Cotugno. I don’t care for stories that include a teen pregnancy and Rachel and Katy were all over telling me to read it and I’m so glad!

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013? YA Contemporary Romance. Like, a lot.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013? Josh in The Sea of Tranquility, Ryan in Dare You To. (But really, there’s only room in my heart for Four from the Divergent series.) ❤

23. Best 2013 debut you readNobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook. So, so good!

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013Relic by Renee Collins. Magical relics in the wild West? YES. I wanted to go to there!

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013Winger by Andrew Smith is highly entertaining. Laugh out loud funny (or in my case, try to stifle laughter because you’re reading in bed while your spouse is trying to sleep, but failing miserably kind of funny).

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013? Allegiant** by Veronica Roth, Winger** by Andrew Smith, The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler, Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
**True crying occurred.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came OutGolden by Jessi Kirby, Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook – even I probably don’t give them enough love, including on this survey!

Book Blogging/Reading Life
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The YA Superlatives in December is a favorite blogfest for a year-in-review. Click here for info (and participate in a week!) and check out my favorite day from last year here.

My favorite author signings/book events this year included the YA Highway event, and then of course Wordstock in Portland. I met so many great authors between those two events (including Veronica Roth, Stephanie Perkins, and Maggie Stiefvater)–I can’t get over how much I enjoy meeting or listening to authors and hearing them talk about their writing and books!
http://novelnovice.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/wordstock-chair1.jpg 9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? I’ve made a more concerted effort to buy from indie book sellers if I’m not buying for my Kindle. I buy from Powells or Third Place Books as often as possible. But, I know I could do better. I need to get IN the stores around Tacoma/Puyallup.

I’ve made my internship and love of books more known to my students. I know that’s weird to say as an English teacher (that I share my love of books more now than ever with my students) but it would take too long to explain here. 🙂 This bulletin board in my classroom has spurred many great conversations:

photo 1This bulletin board was inspired by Pinterest and Page to Premiere. The inside of each book has a brief synopsis and a couple movie screenshots, if available. It was very worth the time and effort!

Looking Ahead
1. One book I didn’t get to but will be a priority in 2014? Ahhhh, so many…
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

I think I need to read some staples, like:
The Book Thief and Code Name Verity in terms of modern rave review-inducing novels
The Spectacular Now
Harry Potter
Perks of Being a Wallflower

2. Book I’m most anticipating in 2014? Again, so many…
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Raven Cycle #3 by Maggie Stiefvater (I think she’s on a pretty consistent fall release schedule?)
Panic by Lauren Oliver
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
#Scandal by Sarah Ockler
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

3. 2014 debut that I am most anticipating?
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

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Wordstock 2013

Happy Holidays, Friends! It always takes me a little time to reflect upon Wordstock, Portland’s Festival of Words. I had another great year there, although my role was more than just “reader parked in front of the YA stage listening to amazing authors.”

Lisa

I finally got Lisa Burstein’s signature in my copy of DEAR CASSIE! SNEAKING CANDY is a great NA by Lisa, coming out December 9th!

This year was different from my Wordstock experience last year because this year I was a volunteer! I was posted at the YA Signing Stage on Saturday, which was perfect except that I didn’t actually get to hear any authors talk. Lot of signage, though, and when authors like Stephanie Perkins were hanging out in the lobby in front of the signing table, I got to chat them up and get my books signed. 🙂 But I missed the author talks–that’s definitely my favorite.

Stephanie

The adorable Stephanie Perkins, who was a moderator for the YA Contemp stage.

Contemporaries

Miranda Kenneally, Corey Ann Haydu, me, Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman–YA Contemp Romance ROCK STARS. I really wish I’d heard this panel.

Panel

A fun panel, moderated by Jessica Brody. I am most familiar with and was most excited about Maggie Stiefvater and Dan Krokos. This panel did not disappoint. Stiefvater sort of commandeered the microphone for the first half.

MaggieStiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater was so true to what I expected: smart, fun, intriguing, and engaging! I am such a big fan of THE RAVEN BOYS. PS that’s my new Romeo and Juliet scarf.

Day 2 (Sunday) was super quiet for me because I didn’t feel well and was part of the Mainstage signing table in the main Book Fair expo hall room. I ended up leaving at the conclusion of my volunteer shift.
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I think that next year I will be a participant on Saturday and a volunteer on Sunday. My husband and I love visiting Portland and going to Powells, seeing the sights, eating great food, etc. so this festival is a marriage of many things that I enjoy. The next festival will actually be in March 2015 and at Portland State University. If you would like more information on Wordstock (you can receive email newsletters, etc.) you might follow on Twitter, or, visit their website! They have events and workshops throughout the year for teachers, emerging writers, established writers, and everything in between, so check them out!

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