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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Challenge Lists

I recently joined two book reading challenges: the 2010 Debut Author Challenge and the GLBT Challenge. The Debut Author challenge challenges one to read at least 12 YA books released in 2010 by debut authors or YA debuts (for instance, if an author has an adult/kids' book already published their YA debut). The GLBT challenge challenges one to read 4/8/12 books by GLBT authors or about GLBT topics. This is an update post on both challenge lists:

Debut Author Challenge
  • Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick (YA debut)
  • The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Split by Swati Avasati
(Only 5 for now, but that's just debuts released in 2010 per contest rules...)

GLBT Challenge

  • 7 Days at the Hot Corner by Terry Trueman
  • My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  • Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes
  • Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about the Grapes of Wrath by Steven Goldman
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
  • Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee
  • The Less-Dead by April Lurie
Plus depending on the exact specifications of the contest rules Every Little Thing in the World by Nina de Gramont may count. If so, 8 (Pink Triangle level) and if not 7 (almost PTL).

So that's that.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

3 Best beach reads

I discovered this meme at Lost in Books, a fairly awesome site with great memes. (Find out more here: Anyways, so this week's meme is 3 Best Beach Reads. The title kind of speaks for itself. Note: This is my personal opinion. Many of you will think I am crazy for what I am about to say. Good news--I do, too. I've lots of inspiration for this post, as I leave for a beach-type vacation tomorrow, so I've got the following 3 all packed up and ready to go.

1) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

This one is the inexplicable one. Why, you might ask, is this a beach read for you? Well, I can honestly say I have no idea. All I can say is that the mind works in mysterious ways (my other Inexplicable Book I Think Of When I Think Of The Beach is Tamar by Mal Peet, which I'm reading right now--EXCELLENT: def. deserved that Carnegie--and which just evokes beach to me--maybe it's the English cover? idk--Anyways, I'm taking itto the beach. Again...????). But whenever I go to the beach this one goes with me. Longtime readers will know I love Jellicoe Road, a novel about a seventeen-year-old girl at boarding school embroiled in a territory war with neighboring teen factions, infighting in her own house, and the dramas and scandals of the past. It won the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award, which was well-deserved, and although the first, say, 100 pages are kind of confusing the first time around I really think they're worth it. Jellicoe Road is totally unforgettable.


2) Paper Towns by John Green...or any road trip novel that is not On the Road.

Idk why, but I've always found road trip novels really beachish. I guess it's that whole vacay aspect of the thing--call me unimaginative you can. I just put Paper Towns because a) It's the one I'm taking, b) It's John Green, ergo, it's awesome, and c) IT'S PAPER TOWNS!



3) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

This one is actually about the beach. It is, w/o a doubt, one of the best books actually @ the beach that I have ever read. Sarah Ockler's book about loss, lust, love, longing and letting go (5 L's...unavoidable and awesome :D...) is freaking awesome.

So there you have it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

...With a Little Help from the Library of Congress

Okay, so I really need to write reviews. But it takes a while, and I'm really lazy, etc., and stuff like that. So I have decided to divide the books up into five categories:

Definitely Recommended
Probably Recommended
Worth a Look Through
If You Have Nothing Else To Read

Today I will be reviewing the

Definitely Recommended books.

Despite your genre preferences, these books are, you know, epic and should be read by everyone. Because they're awesome. If I never get to the other four parts--and the risk is always there :O--you'll at least know of THESE AWESOME ONES. The reviews themselves that I have written tend towards the overuse of words like awesome. Hopefully this helps to get the point across but really it probably doesn't.

It's supposed to, anyway.


How to Say Goodbye In Robot (Natalie Standiford)

After moving to Baltimore and enrolling in a private school, high school senior Beatrice befriends a quiet loner with a troubled family history. A Junior Library Guild selection.

This is really an awesome book. I kid you not. There is a radio show, an old car with a name, ages-old family secrets, a non-romance, and a truly realistic ending. Plus it has the magic carpet!


Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan)

When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other's best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.

It's John Green. And David Levithan. If you need any more convincing, there are cats in boxes which belong to Schroedinger! (Well, metaphorically...)


The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson)

In the months after her sister dies, seventeen-year-old Lennie falls into a love triangle and discovers the strength to follow her dream of becoming a musician. A Junior Library Guild selection.

I've already semi-reviewed this one but it's still good nonetheless.


Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About The Grapes of Wrath (Steven Goldman)

Mitch, a shy and awkward high school junior, negotiates the difficult social situations he encounters, both with girls and with his best friend David, after David reveals to him that he is gay.

This book may have at least half of the funniest quotes ever. Plus it's just awesome.


Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver)

After she dies in a car crash, teenage Samantha relives the day of her death over and over again... (limited quote)

This is one of those books that is so much better than its summary makes it sound. DO NOT THINK Groundhog Day. (Though it is mentioned in the book...)


Sorta Like a Rock Star (Matthew Quick)

Although seventeen-year-old Amber Appleton is homeless, living in a school bus with her unfit mother, she is a relentless optimist who visits the elderly at a nursing home, teaches English to Korean Catholic women with the use of rhythm and blues music, and befriends a solitary Vietnam veteran and his dog, but eventually she experiences one burden more than she can bear and slips into a deep depression.

This is a book. Any expectations I might've had were blown away. This book is just so. freaking. hopeful. It was creative. It was only 355 pages, which was a shame because it was awesome.


Marcelo in the Real World (Francisco X. Stork)

Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.

Everyone thought this one should've won the Printz award last year and to a point I have to agree, I guess. This is an awesome book. Seriously.


Hold Still (Nina LaCour)

Ingrid didn't leave a note. Three months after her best friend's suicide, Caitlin finds what she left instead: a journal, hidden under Caitlin's bed. A Junior Library Guild selection. A 2010 William Morris Award finalist.

This is one of those books that is inexplicably tied to another element of the book...okay, by which I mean the drawings. The whole thing is just amazing. BRILLIANT. Love the ending (okay, love all the endings of all 13 of these books, but whatever).


How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff)

To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land. A Junior Library Guild selection. The 2004 Michael L. Printz Award Winner.

This one's an older book, but I hadn't read it until February or so. Word to the wise: the first time you read it read it on the audiobook because a) Kim Mai Guest does an AWESOME job with it, b) it's only like 40000 words or so; thus, it's not that long--only 4.5 hours or something like that, and c) the punctuation (or lack of it) can turn some people off. Read it on audiobook the first time. Trust me, you'll want to read it again, by which point you'll not notice the lack of quotation marks in most of the book (okay, maybe you will, but hopefully you won't care).


The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin (Josh Berk)

When Will Halpin transfers from his all-deaf school into a mainstream Pennsylvania high school, he faces discrimination and bullying, but still manages to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a popular football player in his class.

You wouldn't think murder would be funny (of course, you probably would), but this book makes it so. It was really...okay, by now you've sensed a pattern. ALL these books are awesome, but it's the kind of awesome that makes it extremely hard to review. Yay.


The Less-Dead (April Lurie)

Sixteen-year-old Noah Nordstrom, whose father is the host of a popular evangelical Christian radio program, believes that the person who has been killing gay teenagers in the Austin, Texas, foster care system, is a regular caller on his dad's show. Includes bibliographical references.

Best. Suspense. Ever. (Well, except for The Shining, but that's no contest.) This is one of those intensely readable books that you can finish in, like, five hours (well, I did at any rate). A really great book.


Split (Swati Avasthi)

A teenaged boy thrown out of his house by his abusive father goes to live with his older brother, who ran away from home years ago to escape the abuse.

This is one of those books that once you get into the second chapter or so it's extremely hard to put down. Swati Avasthi has managed to make this not just an issue book but just a book that so happens to be completely freaking awesome.


American Born Chinese (Gene Luen Yang)

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format. The 2007 Michael L. Printz Award winner.

There are some people who don't like graphic novels and 'visual' books. I recommend this one to them too due to the fact that its sheer awesome makes it impossible to pass up.


And so on, and so forth.