Tag Archives: YA Literature

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!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under About me, Book Event, Bookish, Uncategorized

2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Elements of Fiction

C2013 Button

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.

6 Comments

Filed under Bookish, Review, Uncategorized, YA Superlative Blogfest

End of Year Book Survey 2013

best-books-2013-1024x862
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

18 Comments

Filed under Book Event, Bookish, Review

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.
Nametag

PortlandCollage
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!

1 Comment

Filed under Book Event, Bookish, Review, Uncategorized