Friday, July 31, 2009

Harry Potter Reading Challenge

Seeing the newest Harry Potter movie a few nights ago, I was reminded how much I love the books. I think that the first 3 movies did a great job of the books, but now the books are too long and the story is truncated on screen. So much has to be overlooked. And it is these overlooked parts which I want back. So, back to the books for the Harry Potter Reading Challenge hosted over at Galleysmith!

Here are the rules:

What: Read or listen to all seven books in the Harry Potter series

◦Sorcerer’s Stone
◦Chamber of Secrets
◦Prisoner of Azkaban
◦Goblet of Fire
◦Order of the Pheonix
◦Half-Blood Prince
◦Deathly Hallows

When: The challenge will run from August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2010. I know we’re all busy with life and work and other such fun things so join up whenever you want, there are no deadlines to the challenge besides the end date above.

Where: E-to the Everywhere! Post reviews on your blog, chat about it on messageboards, post vlogs or podcasts, comment on and converse about it in the monthly post I create here on Galleysmith. It’s entirely up to you, as long as there is some evidence of your having completed each book along the way you are good to go.
So, I'll start of with Sorcerer's Stone this weekend and probably read a book a month or so and review it here! The best part is connecting with other people during this challenge and reading their reactions. Ah, community. :)

My Favourite Reads

I found out about At Home With Books while bloghopping and she has a weekly My Favourite Reads post. The point is to go all nostalgic and showcase a book from your past; and busting out the book nostalgia is what I'm all about (seriously, I can have a fit of nostalgia a week after reading a truly good book). So here is my pick for this week:

A Handful of Time by Kit Pearson

When Patricia's mother sends her to her cousins' cottage for the summer, Patricia doesn't want to go. She doesn't know her cousins at all, and she's never been good at camping or canoeing, let alone making new friends.
When she arrives at the cottage, her worst fears come true: her cousin Kelly teases her; Aunt Ginnie and Uncle Doug feel sorry for her. She doesn't fit in. Then Patricia discovers an old watch hidden under a floorboard. When she winds it, she finds herself taken back in time to the summer when her own mother was twelve ...

Why I chose this book:

I read it when I was 12 or so and just loved it, mostly for its scifi-seeming plot. When Patricia winds up this old watch she finds she is transported to the summers at her cottage when her mother was young. The time-travelling watch is more of a literary device than say a Tardis, but there IS time-travel; Patricia doesn't just find her mother's old journal or hear stories from her grampy. And I also loved this book because it is set at a cottage during summer vacation; I still have a true love for cottage/beach/small town stories set in the summer months because I went to these places each summer and they shine in my memories. Recently, when I read Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride, I re-visited this beach/small-town love.

But I also loved Patricia because she was so lonely and sad. Her mother didn't have time for her and shuttled her off to live with distant relatives for the summer, cousins who made fun of her for being pale and introverted. She does finally come out of her shell, but it doesn't betray her nature, it just fulfills a small broken part in her. The whole re-kindling with her mother after the empathy garnered by time-travel happens for the most part off-screen. A Handful of Time is less about the mother and more about the small changes in Patricia during a lonely summer vacation away from home.

I recently re-read this book and it was just as emotional for me. This is absolutely one of my favourites.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Becca Fitzpatrick will probably get tired of her book being compared to Twilight, especially when it’s released in October, but Hush Hush does have a few things in common with that YA behemoth. Namely, you WILL have to read Hush Hush in one or two sitings and you WILL fall in love with Patch. Or fall in lust with him, which is what he would maybe prefer.

I’m not giving away anything when I mention that Patch is an angel. The cover is unequivocal; the man has his wings all pulled out and he looks like he’s FALLING *hinthint*. Hush Hush gives us a whole new paranormal mythos, oustide of the super-popular vampire theme that is everywhere in books and on t.v. Vampires are awesome, but it’s great to see something new. And Becca doesn’t overwhelm us with too much angel lore or angel-fiction-rules; she let’s the narrative take care of itself, weaving in some traditional and some made-up (I think) laws of angels. But, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I never felt bogged down in too much angel background—the info given is plot-centered and necessary for the character. But, where Edward was more like Angel, Patch is more like Spike.

He’s lusty and pushy and way too confident. But not tormented, or at least he doesn’t externalize his torment and revel in it. Patch is not Emo. Yet I haven’t had a crush on a literary man since Owen from Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen, or the Weasley Twins (yes, BOTH of them!), and Patch fits the bill. There is something deliciously mischevious about Patch that will attract a lot of girl attention once it’s published.

And I mentioned before about the best friend character Vee Sky; she absolutely infuses the book with hilarity and gives Nora some very bad ideas, such as playing spy girl (there is a ridiculous disguise scene that is pretty silly). My previous concern was that Vee might be punished by some gory serial killer ending for being the sexually precocious one, but I was satisfied with her story and look forward to her return in book two (I hear that Becca is writing the sequel now).

My only qualms remain the question of Patch's name (there is an explanation in the book, but it's hard to connect it with his character. Worst, I guess, his name could have been something like Thorn Daggerhilt—actually maybe it IS his real name, as Patch is a nickname. Book two, maybe, we'll learn his true name). And there is a bit of abruptness on the last page, which I can't really get into with my virtually spoiler-free review. But Becca has written a solid romance-action-adventure with memorable characters and tons of sexy tension. Fans of Twilight and Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series will love it.

As a final thought, when I finished Hush Hush I still couldn't figure out the title. My guess is that hushing refers to the pushed in spot on your top lip; apparently, if I have my angel myths right, it is the evidence of an angel putting his finger there when we're born. I can't remember why, though. To quiet us after we've seen them?

Oh, and my favourite part?

"I was standing in the lower level of Bo`s Arcade with my back to the wall, facing several games of pool...Stevie Nicks was coming through the speakers; the song about the white-winged dove and being on the edge of seventeen"



Of Ongoing Note:
Genesis by Bernard Beckett book giveaway and interview!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is an idea I borrowed from A Book A Week, who borrows it from Should Be Reading (two of my favourite book blogs, see my bloglist to the right).

From Should Be Reading:
~Grab your current read
~Open to a random page
~Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
~Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am currently reading Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I want to write a full review of it when I finish it immanently. It does have that Twilight addictive quality about it. Our rep from Simon and Schuster told me that she liked it better than Twilight and she feels that Hush Hush will be what the Twilight fans have been looking for when it's released in October.
Many many books have splashed that claim across their advanced reading copies and many have only had a few themes in common. What I think they were missing was the element of the juicy romance, which is what attracted people (okay women) to cross into this genre of reading. And Hush Hush definately has that tense, seemingly unlikely but fated, romance.
I started reading it cold without reading the back for plot details. The cover is beautiful and I think I knew what I was getting into. So far, the only 2 qualms I have are the fact that the sexy main lead's name is Patch (maybe this will be justified later and it will seem perfect for the character), and I think of a hamster's name, and I worry for Nora's sensually precocious best friend Vee; I hope she isn't "punished" for not being the vulnerable, subtle sexy that Nora is, for actually knowing what turns her on, as happens in romantic fiction. But Hush Hush is totally addictive. Even as I write this I am looking over at it longingly. So here is your teaser:

"Holy freak show," Vee said. "You're not answering. The deer is lodged in my headlights, isn't he? You're driving around with him stuck to the front of the car like a snowplow"

I forgot to mention that this book is funny, which I totally appreciate amidst the soul-mate-hot-chemistry action. But again, a full review to come.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Wand in the Word edited by Leonard S. Marcus

On Friday there was a package on my “desk” at work waiting for me. I love this part of the job. Inside was a book sent specifically for me with a note saying, “Hi Mandy, The first of many. Cheers”. And the book inside is what I have spent an entire delightfully thunderstormy day reading: The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy.
I vaguely remember requesting a copy of this book a while back and love that it came unexpected and with the deliciously hopeful promise of many more to come. I think I know who sent it to me and I’ll e-mail them thanks, but for now I just want to review this beauty.
First, it’s gorgeous and heavy. Slightly wider than a trade paperback, this hardcover is a piece of work. And it’s no wonder, Candlewick being the publisher. They put together very beautiful, wonderful books for kids. I actually swoop down on their catalogues when we get them at the store, like a harpy stealing each morsel from the mouths of my co-workers. They’ve gotten used to it.
The Wand in the Word is a collection of interviews between Leonard S. Marcus and 13 writers of fantasy. Marcus has a huge resume as a children’s literature critic and historian. His 13 interviews include those with Lloyd Alexander, Franny Billingsley, Susan Cooper, Nancy Farmer, Brian Jacques (pronounced JAKES I’ve learned), Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K. Le Guin, Madeleine L’Engle, Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and Jane Yolen.
Marcus focuses on questions about the authors’ childhoods; what type of readers they were, important people in their writing development, how they finally chose the life of a writer and how they got there. His book reprints some great photos, such as the one of Lloyd Alexander in his uniform during WWII, looking a little uncertain. Or the one of Tamora Pierce when she’s 10 wearing horn-rim glasses. And he includes, for each author, a reprint of an original drafted page from one of their books, with the author’s corrections and re-writes.
My favourite interview is with Philip Pullman who made me laugh a lot. When asked if he knew what his own daemon would be, he responds: “I suppose I think of her as a bird, probably one of those dull, drab-looking birds, like a jackdaw, which makes a habit of stealing bright things. She hangs around inconspicuously listening for little bright snippets of conversation or an anecdote and then picks them up when nobody’s looking and brings them back to me, and we make a story out of them”. He also has a great story about having dinner with Tolkien and a few of his friends. None of the boys liked learning Anglo-Saxon (Tolkien had fought to keep it in the school) and none had read Lord of the Rings yet either, two subjects that Tolkien brought up right away.
My other favourite interview was with Jane Yolen who has some great stories about her family, namely her father, supposedly the world’s best kite-flyer, and her cool aunt. Jane Yolen has a quirky way of responding and I loved just hearing her voice.
The Wand in the Word is a good little collection of interviews from great writers. I confess to not really knowing who Franny Billingsley is but I’m going to check out her books. Actually, my only qualm about this book is that my to-be-read pile has just shot through the roof!
The paperback is out in October of this year with more plebeian pricing. I suspect the hardcover is intended for library and academic use. But it was definitely worth the read and was kind of perfect on a rainy Sunday.


Some great Canadian fantasy writers:
Guy Gavriel Kay
Eileen Kernaghan
Pauline Gedge
Charles de Lint
Scott Bakker

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Win a copy of Genesis!

Genesis by Bernard Beckett, just released in North America in April of 2009, is one of my favourite reads this year. Clamouring for more, I e-mail- and google-hunted Mr. Beckett down with the burning questions that would not let me rest; “what, why, what, when, what, what?”. It is in the same state of cerebral delight that I read his answers to my fangirl questions. And with a few surprises, namely a confession that he’s not much of a sci-fi reader! I think that after writing a book like Genesis you get one of those honorary degrees in Scifi readership.

I would also like to give away my copy of Genesis to a lucky draw winner. I want to share this book with a new reader. So please leave your name or your name and a comment in the comments portion of this post and consider yourself entered in the draw (I’m sorry to say that this draw is only open to those living in the Tri-City area who are able to bodily pick up their copy of Genesis at Words Worth Books. Non-local people will have future opportunities to win other titles that I will personally ship to them; keep posted for more).

(Mandy)When describing Genesis I have compared it with Brave New World, We, and 1984 by its classic, sophisticated story. Do you consider Genesis science fiction or dystopian literature? Are you a reader of SciFi?

(Bernard Beckett) I'm not much of a sci-fi reader, although that may well change. Certainly having Genesis published has opened my eyes to a very rich vein of literature which I've been largely ignorant of. For me Genesis is not primarily a dystopian novel, although I can see why people might read it that way. The futuristic environment is really a vehicle to get to the thing I most wanted to write about, which was the relationship between Adam and Art, and what that might do to the reader's notions of what we mean when we speak of consciousness.

The entire story happens during a 5 hour test. This is what caught my attention when I was given an advanced reading copy; the structure stands out as unique and with great potential to induce a sense of anxiety. How did the story’s structure come to you? Was the anxiety induced in the reader intentional?

This one is interesting, in that I had the basic idea for Adam and Art maybe three years before I wrote Genesis but I could never find a satisfactory way into the story. perhaps thanks to my ignorance of sci-fi, I found it hard to handle the information dump, and setting up the alternative world became cumbersome and ultimately boring. The examination was initially a way around that, although as it progressed I realised that it did have the potential you have noticed, which is to build our own sense of anxiety. Because the first character we meet is Anaximander, there is a natural tendency for us to see her as our protagonist. The question then is what does she want, and why should we care? Having her facing a high stakes examination was a way of the reader identifying with her, just by giving her something to struggle against. And of course, by the end we see that this identification was a form of trickery, designed to reinforce this basic question of how it is we come to attribute consciousness to others.

You have “fleshed” out the character of Art so exactly. Do you have a soft spot for robots? Any robots come to mind? What is the fictional potential of robots for you?
I think the potential here is to use them as a mirror of sorts. Often it requires an outside perspective before we can gaze upon ourselves with any clarity. So the potential of a charming robot in this story is to force us to ask ourselves, why do we attribute value to other people, to animals or even machines? Is it just arbitrary? After all history shows periods where slaves for example, or women in many cases, were treated in ways that today seem scarcely believable. The way we still treat those who are outside our immediate circle, those struggling to survive in a distant continent for instance, may in a more enlightened future appear barbaric. But how far can our sphere of extend practically extend, and what defines the boundaries? A robot with clearly human characteristics is a way into that discussion.

Did you have a teen audience in mind when you wrote Genesis? Did it affect how you wrote the book or even what you wrote into it?

I did have a teen audience in mind, and I think the main impact is on my own confidence as a writer. I feel when writing for teenagers that maybe I can stretch the ideas a little further, be more speculative and provocative. When writing for adults for some reason I feel more constrained, I think it's a self-consciousness of sorts, a fear of being caught out by those readers who are far smarter than I am. That said, the final product is a book for adults as much as it is for teens. As a school teacher I always remind people that the smartest teenagers are far smarter than the majority of we older folk, so there should be a lot of crossover in reading material.

I found the ending dark but satisfying. Is there hope at the end? Does there have to be?

Because it's not a book about the way I think the future is going to play out, the ending is not that dark to me. it shouldn't even be read as a warning, in the style of Brave New World for instance. Rather it's a speculation, about how the advance of technology has the potential to redefine the human spirit, and the end punch in the book is more of a narrative trick than a statement about my world view.

And finally, after writing Genesis, IS the soul more than the hum of its parts?

Yes, for me it is. But that extra is self-created I think. I don't subscribe to some sort of Platonic mysticism, where people believe there is this extra essence that comes form without. Rather I think through a slow process of evolution, both biological and cultural, we have lifted ourselves above the status of animal or machine, that the thing that makes us more than a hum is the ideas we have given shape to. This view to me is an uplifting one, for it reminds us of the wonderful, fragile potential at the heart of human existence, and also the awesome responsibility of maintaining it, through honest and generous engagement with the world we inhabit. Which is why I love teaching, because it's about that crucial process of keeping our ideas, and so our souls, alive.

Read a review of Genesis:
Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Friday, July 24, 2009

Harlequin Teen

I am admittedly intrigued by Harlequin's new imprint for teens, the aptly named Harlequin Teen *flourish*
Really, I think I may write a first chapter. From the guidelines:

"Harlequin Teen is a single-title program dedicated to building authors and publishing unique, memorable young-adult fiction. Stories with the unforgettable romance, characters and atmosphere of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, the witty humor of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries novels, the edgy emotion of Jay Asher’s Th1rteen R3asons Why, the thrilling danger of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games, the futuristic world-building of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, and the power of Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief are examples of the range and depth of projects that we’re seeking"

Although I suspect that they are thinking more Twilight and less The Book Thief. I'll give them some edgy emotion.
Actually I have a certain respect for Harlequin books. Writing 50, 000 words is no small feat. And it has to serve its purpose. It has to be entertaining and sexy and compelling. This is actually very hard to do. I'm sure that tons of rejection letters are sent out daily from the Harlequin offices. And the website actually gives lots of advice on becoming a writer and writing specifically FOR Harlequin, which is not something that I see on Random House's website *tsk*. A publisher that encourages first time authors and gives them a format within which to work with much informative support is pretty cool. AND they have this panel they are putting together for people between the ages of 13 and 17, basically a control group to unleash their books on. But you get to read some free books.
I'm not certain that I will actually be able to write a full chapter let alone an entire book, but I'll give it a go. It might be fun. I encourage everyone to take a shot at it; unleash some teenage fantasies! If anyone actually DOES write a first chapter, let me know. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

I was toodling around my account and came across this review:

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

Holy crap, I was really impressed with this book.
I felt that I had been led astray initially by the book jacket blurb, which suggested it might be like Invisible by Pete Hautman, also a completely unreliable narrator. But I found Inexcusable somewhat of a psychological horror. It felt scary to be so close to Keir's voice and not know what you will be forced to witness. So, great job by Chris Lynch for technique. Also, creepy open-eye-kissing scene. Fantastic and horrible. Totally recommended.

I'm pretty sure I kept it brief because I wrote this out on an index card to attach to the cover of this book in the store. Something I love to do so great books like Inexcusable don't get lost in the publishing din. I think my review makes the book sound like a Stephen King novel, which isn't bad; there is just so much more to this story than the impending dread. It's not even a dread which can be pinpointed. It's like the feeling you get when someone is telling a story that you know is going to end very badly and you can see the signs but already know that the bad thing has happened and you can't stop it. Lots of slow-motion-arms-out-lunging-mouthing-"Nooooooo" while you read. And that's the impression that's stuck with me since I read this book last September. I really still do totally recommend it. Especially for male readers.

And it reminded me of a similar narrator in Pete Hautman's Invisible. Doug is completely unreliable as his own storyteller. You can see the cracks widen as you read and he slips up verbally or is too transparent even as he tries to unintentionally decieve you. He's just trying to maintain his integrity; how he sees himself. Which is very human. Doug's voice is the best part of the book, and the ending gave me chills. For that matter, Hautman's Sweet Blood remains one of my favourite stories of "vampires" as well as excellently portraying a teen with diabetes. It has a satisfying, more hopeful ending than Invisible.


Books mentioned:

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
Invisible by Pete Hautman
Sweet Blood by Pete Hautman

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Conversation with Carla Gunn...

Over on Words Worth Books' book club blog I've posted a transcript of a phone conversation our group had with Amphibian author Carla Gunn. She gave us some great answers to all of our questions. I even came away with a new perspective on her handling of the bullying issue in her book. It's neat also that she mentions Amphibian being apropriate to a 12+ audience, even necessary, I think. I don't think there are any spoilers there so take a peek.

As a side note, her book has been described by publishers and reviewers as resembling Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I've never read this book but I have read How I Live Now, which was also hailed as a second Curious Dog. It's funny in my head trying to create what must be the actual text of Curious Dog based on an amalgam of Amphibian and How I Live Now; Daisy and Piper have a third in their travelling party and he completely freaks out at the goat scene, made more anxious by local mushrooms. I'm not sure that this is the plot in CIDNT. Maybe I'll have to read it one day.

Just a few posts ago:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Sometimes I like to take a break between books in a series to really be aware of each book as I read it. I regret that when I first read through the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay, I made the mistake of not slowing down to fully enjoy the story’s unfolding. Because of it I kind of burnt out and didn’t love it as much as I did on a second, slower reading a year later. I did the same with the Harry Potter books and with Bone, for that matter. I just get so excited!

So when I started reading The City of Ember and realized how great is was, I took a break and did not read The People of Sparks right away. Currently reading Sparks, and sucked back into the action right away, I want to post a belated review of The City of Ember (I also love the idea of a belated review; there is so much that I have read and truly enjoyed that I still recommend to people. I also like the idea of writing a review even years after reading the book as a way to see how that book has affected me after such a period of time. If I’m still eager to review a title after a few years, it must have had an impact on me. What was that impact and what makes that books still a great read?)

So, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau:

I was a nut for the setting of Ember; a small city pitch black except for hundreds of spaced floodlamps, surrounded on all sides by Unknown Regions—nothingness. This tentative little city is made more vulnerable as the reader finds out that there are only so many lightbulbs left, that Ember will be engulfed by the Unknown Regions, and soon. But no one remembers what, if anything, came before the city of Ember. Where had they lived before the advent of electric light? What would save them from being buried alive in suffocating darkness?
12 year-old Doon and Lina may be the only two assessing the future of Ember as they gather rumours of stockroom depletion and count the blackouts, which seem to last longer each time. They begin the book assigned to their life jobs—Lina as a pipeworker and Doon, a Messenger. Finding each other, they swap life jobs; Doon has a great need to work in the deepest, blackest part of Ember repairing the plumbing for the city and Lina is a fast runner and won’t be trapped by the darkness. Both have an anxious need to solve the problem of Ember. And when they stumble upon a few clues they take a fantastic leap to find their salvation.

I read Ember in a state of gripping intrigue. And assuredly, there was this mystery throughout, the mystery of the city, that was so interesting for me. The intrigue was a slow burn rather than a crashbang adventure, but it completely held me captivated. I found the ending very satisfying. I have a softspot for the twin/shadow boy/girl protagonists, like Doon and Lina, and I totally enjoyed their struggle to be heard and to save their people. I also appreciate that they were just kids. They were motivated out of fear and a need to be recognized and looked up to, as much as being heroes in the book.

I really liked this one. My favourite teen books are in the scifi/dystopian genre and I was totally satisfied reading this. And I’m regaining that fascination reading The People of Sparks (so far!).


More truly awesome teen scifi that I enjoyed:

Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Unwind by Neal Shusterman (an interview)

Book(s) that I couldn’t finish this week but may get back to:

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

my new fish

I haven't noticed the blog feature to add your own fish. I think it's grand!

I am a huge fan of Endless Ocean for Wii; I love the swimming around and just feeding and photographing animals and fish aspect. I get so excited when I find a new creature to document and check out. I am also easily excitable about "feeding" the little fish on my blog (I won't admit to how long I have just done that before posting). So feed my fish! Although if they are sluggish and foating to the top we've probably fed them too much.

And I would just like to thank those who have already found my new little blog. There are a lot of blogger appreciation awards but no deserved blogger reader awards. Thanks for the support.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Amphibian by Carla Gunn

Though published as a novel for an adult market, Amphibian has total teen appeal. Not just because Phineas is nine and he’s dealing with some very nine-year-old issues like bullying, his parents’ divorce and his grandfather’s death. Amphibian is a teen pick because it speaks about that horrible anxiety of being a certain age where you feel out of control, not able to make a difference in the world around you but accutely aware of the problems that need attention.

Phineas is a really awesome kid and I loved just getting familiar with his voice for the first 30 pages. He’s an animal nut; knows everything about obscure animals and their habits, and he cares DEEPLY about their conservation. That’s why it slowly tears him apart when his teacher announces that she bought a White’s tree frog for a class pet. Phin sees this frog’s new habit as it is: a prison. And he plans on busting him out.

Amphibian was a tough read. You really had to tough out all of the facts about animal cruelty that Phin is worried about. Carla addresses animal rights activism in a balanced way, leaving room for the reader to make up their own minds instead of gunning them down in righteous indignation. Kind of a hard feat considering the stereotypes of animal rights activists and “tree huggers” (also addressed well in the book). And Phin’s voice and thought-process is perfectly crafted. This is a hilarious book as well as an emotional one.

My only qualm is the tidy clean-up at the end on the topic of bullying. I won’t give anything away but I wish it had been left unanswered as it often is in life. But this is a good book and just pulling off such a strong, established, memorable character such as Phin should win this woman an award of some kind. It certainly has won her much deserved critical praise.

I would definately give this book to a 12 year-old. There is mention of the F word in places, but it is used in a way that is necessary to the characters. Phin and his mom even discuss the uses of the word and its power. I loved Phin for the way his mind worked. I even started to think like him; linear but with an unerring compassion. It will be awhile before he is out of my head.


Another truly memorable character's voice:
How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff

Interview with Bernard Beckett!

Wow! Bernard Beckett has agreed to an interview for his great book, Genesis! It'll be posted as soon as it's ready! I'm also going to throw in a book draw for a free copy of this title.

I was looking for a special way of using the copy I was given; Genesis is especially good and I want it in the right hands!


Review of Bernard Beckett's Genesis

First posts are always the most exciting

Hi! My name is Mandy and I work at Words Worth Books in Waterloo. I love reading YA and Teen books, graphic novels, and otherwise "adult" non-fiction. Sometimes I worry about the divide between what are promoted as teen titles versus adult titles because I think people are missing out on really great reads. So I love recommending "teen" books to adults, and also finding "adult" books for "teens". Essentially I just love a good read.

And I'm pretty excited about this blog! I promise to tone down on the exclamation points. I'm hoping to run a book club through the blog, so people can pick up each month's book, read it, and then head back here to see what other people thought of it. I also want to give away free books through draws held whenever I feel like it. The main thing, though, is that I love to review books I've read and you will find them here. I would love to hear back from anyone out there reading teen and YA!

I'm just getting started so check back for more as I get this blog going.



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