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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Long Post

I feel like making a long, well-written, quality post today. This will have to suffice:

I: review one
Today's review is Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle.

2009, Dutton Juvenile, 304p
Notable awards: None (yet)
Notable books by the author: Internet Girls series; Winnie Perry series; Kissing Kate
Summary: Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy—and authenticity—of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do. With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.
Review: So I'm at Barnes and Noble, right? And I'm looking through the YA section like always. I really want to read Thirteen Reasons Why, but they don't have any copies (!!!), so I'm looking for another book to buy around twenty dollars, because that's all I have to buy books. And then I see some familiar books: the 'ttyl' series and Bliss by Lauren Myracle, all four of which I've read and liked. There's a few other books surrounding it, one of which is Peace, Love and Baby Ducks. I pick it up, and the first thing I notice is that it's a lot longer than Amazon said, which is one reason why I decide to buy it (I resemble fantasy fans in one major aspect: I'm more likely to buy a book depending on how long it is.) I like the concept, too, plus I like Lauren Myracle as an author (the aforementioned Bliss and Internet Girls books rank on my top 100). So I get the book, and I read it. And the thing you most need to know about this book?Peace, Love and Baby Ducks is engrossing. Because I was going to go to the library soon and I had, like, 25 books checked out, I was trying to read six books at once. I was trying to read one chapter of one book, one of another, one of another, and then one of the first, you get the idea, but I kept going back to this one because it was so tautly written, so realistic and hilarious and all those good things that I had to keep going back to it. This is a quality that all Lauren Myracle Books have: I finished the 444-page Bliss in a day, same with ttyl and Kissing Kate. Her books are among the most frequently challenged, but that's because a) book banners are frequently cads, especially YA book banners, and b) she writes about stuff that us teens actually TALK ABOUT. I remember a scene in ttfn, the second Internet Girls book, where the three main characters, Zoe, Angela, and Maddie, are talking about a question one of their classmates asked in health that is kind of dirty. (I won't say what it was, but if you've read ttfn, you probably know what I'm talking about--"Tonnie is a case" should ring a bell.) Well, Peace, Love and Baby Ducks has a few of those, but they're not just put in there for "shock value" like aforementioned cads would have you believe. They're not just mindless smut. This is really what us disgusting teenagers of today think and talk about, and the fact that Myracle knows and presents this realistically is why her books are so popular with both teens and book banners alike. But on to the book itself: Peace, Love and Baby Ducks is about a girl named Carly and her one-year-younger sister Anna and how their relationship changes over a year. There was so much to like about this book: the characters, the story, the writing, the relationship between Anna and Carly. For lack of a better word, I liked the dynamic between the two sisters. Not a) being female or b) having a sister, I wouldn't know what it's like to have one, but you get the feeling from PLB that Myracle does. The secondary characters weren't cardboard, (no teen movie stereotypes here) and Carly's complicated romantic relationship type things were portrayed uber-realistically. Carly herself was a really, really, really, really likable main character, and although she sometimes talked about the hypocrisy and material obsessiveness and printed little whales of everyone around her, she wasn't openly whingeing. Although I couldn't be more different than her, I felt as if I could relate. This is just as amazing as previous Lauren Myracle novels, but it's even better, if that makes any sense.
Thoughts on the cover: I like the cover. Kind of. It's very simple, which I really like about it, and despite the white background, it's eye-catching. I've seen the paperback cover recently (Summer 2010 Penguin Young Readers Group catalog--I am such a nerd), and I have to say, I think I like it better. Sort of. (No image available, because I'm too lazy to do the Powerpoint crop-and-Photobucket thing.) Overall rating: 8.
Verdict: Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks is a realistically written, funny, crisp, and witty story about the (l.o.a.b.w.) dynamics of sisterhood, friendship, and family.
Rating: 9

II: What I'm reading.

I have a problem: I READ TOO MUCH. This isn't a problem, you say? Well, you're right, it isn't. So here's the problem: I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO READ ALL THE BOOKS I OBTAIN.

Right now I'm reading:

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine
Scat by Carl Hiaasen
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
To Be Mona by Kelly Easton
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
Marly's Ghost by David Levithan

and the list goes on and on. That's just an excerpt.

See what I mean?

part 3: next year's books part i

Because I NEVER LEARN MY LESSON, these are some next-year books I really want.

Freefall by Ariela Anhalt
Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
The Less-Dead by April Lurie

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

(warning: big picture)

Hunger Games series book 3 by Suzanne Collins
and on and on and on.

See what I mean?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


This video comes to you in 2 parts.

I: Liar

Today's review is Liar by Justine Larbalestier.
My father is a liar and so am I.
But I'm going to stop. I have to stop.
I will tell you my story and I will tell it straight. No lies, no omissions.
This time I truly mean it.
LIAR by Justine Larbalestier
2009, Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, 384p
buy here
Notable awards: None (yet)
Notable books by the author: How To Ditch Your Fairy, Magic or Madness Series
Summary: Micah will freely admit that she’s a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she’ll ever tell you. Over the years she’s duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she’s always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as naturally as breathing? Taking readers deep into the psyche of a young woman who will say just about anything to convince them—and herself—that she’s finally come clean, Liar is a bone-chilling thriller that will have readers see-sawing between truths and lies right up to the end. Honestly.
Review: I told you in a previous post how much I love this book, so feel free to tune this part out if you did, because I can't really tell you anything about Liar other than that it is gripping, fast-paced, original, has a character that is--despite her flaws--completely emotionally investing, and a book that is FREAKING AWESOME without spoiling it. For instance, in the words of Cory Doctorow:
Indeed, if this book has a failing, it's that it's nearly impossible to explain what's so great about it without risking some important spoilers. So you'll just have to trust me -- this is worth the price of admission and then some.
I couldn't have put it more eloquently, mostly because, as is obvious by now, I so don't have a way with words when it comes to book reviews.
Thoughts on the cover (which I just realized I forgot on Boy Toy): This has to be one of my favorite covers. I'm truly quite happy that they changed the Liar cover (if you haven't yet heard of the cover controversy, then click here for a post by the author about it), although some people are a bit iffy on it (Steph Su has an interesting and very well-justified take on the matter here). Overall, though, I love it. Rating on the cover? 9.
Verdict: Liar? It's a top ten pick that will--and I say this at risk of sounding like School Library Journal--grab you from the first page and spit you out 371 pages later, wondering if you even truly know who you are.
Rating: 10


This is where I admit it:
I liked the Twilight series.
Still here? Haven't run away in disgust? Good.
Anyways, so yeah, I liked it. Twilight in itself was below subpar, and Eclipse was merely okay (I will not disclose my Breaking Dawn opinion), but New Moon was awesome. You began to see the kind of person Bella really was without Edward, even if her every thought was still tinged with him. I liked the relationship between her and Jacob, what with the "friends" thing and all. I wasn't disappointed when Edward came back, mostly because you knew he would, considering there were two more books and all. Anyways, so New Moon was a top 30 pick and I liked it and the movie comes out in 26.5 hours or so. (Not that I'm counting.) Will probably go see it this weekend,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hardcover vs. Paperback!

in which I attempt to decide which of the upcoming paperbacks for 2008/9 hardcover releases I like
thanks to Alea at Pop Culture Junkie for the idea
you rock


The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

Simon and Schuster, April 2009, 336p

Read it: Yes


I can't decide. Seriously. I mean, I like the paperback better overall, but the Quinn on the hardcover is just...Quinn. You know? (Probably not, especially if you haven't read the book.) The one on the paperback is just not Quinn. At all.
Overall, though, I like the paperback better. But just barely.


A week from yesterday I went to the Austin Teen Book Festival in Austin, TX (duh). In one word, it was awesome. I got to meet all the authors I wrote about in the previous post, plus many more. Got to buy JL's Liar (more on her later) and was photographed with the awesomeness Deb Caletti. Libba Bray's keynote speech? Awesome!
So, yeah. It was a lot of fun.
While I was reading Liar, I kind of fell in love with the book, in a creepy, mildly stalkerish way. I started referring to the book by "Micah" instead of Liar (Micah is the MC's name) and carried it everywhere. Eventually, I was obsessed with it. Has anyone ever seen that TV show on Cartoon Network, Ed, Edd n Eddy? (Last good show on CN. The network is dead.) Anyways, if you have, Micah kind of became my Plank, and I vowed to take her everywhere for as long as I could. Creepy? Yes. Good idea? That's up to you.
I have pictures of the ATBF on my camera, which I lost the cord to. I will upload as soon as I can find the cord!

(Be on the lookout for:

  • Liar review
  • "The Liar and I" post, which elaborates on me taking Micah/Liar everywhere. Includes pictures!
  • Going Bovine review
  • Gimmiques, including Hardcover vs Paperback/I WANT THIS DAMN BOOK!/Quotes on Friday.")