Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 10 Characters I'd Like to Be Best Friends With

A Top 10 Tuesday post organized by The Broke and the Bookish. Plus, dream casting that I totally just made up, not even based on descriptions in the books.

Photobucket1. Jessica Darling (The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty)

In my mind, we've already been besties for years. (Casting suggestion courtesy of ForeverYoungAdult.com)

Photobucket2. Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling)

I may or may not have been voted Biggest Brown Noser senior year of high school. It's not my fault I was mature for my age and had things to discuss with the teachers! Let's just say Hermione and I would have a lot in common.

Photobucket3. Natalie Sterling (Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian)

See above.

Photobucket4. Frankie Landau-Banks (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart)

I'm not afraid to show the boys who's boss either.

Photobucket5. Harriet M. Welsch (Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh)

You know the girl's always going to have the best gossip.

Photobucket6. Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

Always befriend the wittiest girl in the room!

Photobucket7. Samantha Kingston (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver)

I think I could have whipped that girl into shape long before things started to get all Groundhogs Day.

Photobucket8. Katarina Bishop (Heist Society by Ally Carter)

Sometimes it's fun to have a BFF who's a bit of a bad influence.

Photobucket9. Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, Crown Princess of Genovia (The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot)

She's a cool girl, plus befriending royalty certainly has its benefits.

Photobucket10. Josephine "Jo" March (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

Outspoken, will do anything for her family, loves to write. Definite BFF qualities!

Who are your potential literary BFFs?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

The Duff
By Kody Keplinger
September 7, 2010
Poppy, 288 pages

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

— Amazon.com description

I spent more than half of The Duff extremely pissed off. "This is an awful lesson for young girls about self-esteem. Even this book's title is insulting. How could ANY of my friends actually like this Wesley jerk? (Ginger, I'm looking at you!) How could Bianca show any romantic interest in a guy who puts her down so much? Why can't she just learn to talk out her issues?" I wanted to slap the girl.

Then she actually gets slapped by her father and I remembered: She's just a kid. It was a real aha! moment. My thoughts on the book did an instant 180.

Of course I think this Wesley guy is crap for her and she needs to work on her self-esteem—I've grown up and learned all these lessons already. She can't know this stuff at age 16; she's got to learn it herself the hard way. And, as a reader and as a former miserable teenage girl, I feel like I need learn to give main characters some more slack and stop judging while I read.

Haven't you ever fallen for a boy who was bad for you? I did. A few times! When I was her age, I made a lot of the mistakes Bianca made in this book, though in a less dramatic and literary way that didn't involve the whole sleeping around thing and instead involved quite a bit more of homework-doing and sucking up to teachers and reading.

It wasn't told in the most poetic way, and I felt there were plenty of shortcuts taken with the storytelling. But, in the end, the characters grew. And in this particular instance, that was enough to make me overlook this book's many flaws and feel pleased when I got the last page.

I'm not saying everyone should like Bianca or support her choices as a character. I'm just saying that if you really look at her, you might see a little bit of yourself at age 16. I did, and it reminded me that if I'm ever going to really "get" YA lit as an adult, I sometimes just have to give in to the teenage mind-set and go along for the ride. Even if I know better.

A great, unexpected lesson from a book I was convinced I'd hate.

If you like this book, you might also like: Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian. Click here to see me read from the book.

PS: The teens in this book all got together at a teen-only club. Is it just me, or is this a total urban legend? Did anyone actually hang out at one of these when they were teens besides Buffy, Willow & the gang?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, November 27, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

I'm not really into reading challenges. I'll read what I want to read when I want to read, darn it! And participating usually means spending money to buy the newly released books, and I'm a library kind of gal. But there are so many good books by debut YA novelists coming out in 2011 that I'm joining in. I'll be doing my best to meet the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

The Debut Author Challenge highlights young adult and middle grade authors that are releasing their first novel in 2011, and the challenge is to read at least 12 debut novels. I'm by no means holding myself to this list, but here are 12 I'm already salivating over:


I'll keep the list updated throughout the year and linked to on a button on the side of the blog. We'll see how I do. Wish me luck! PS: Check out the special button made for me by Lindsi at Books, Sweets and Other Treats. All her buttons were baked goods, so she made this special "gluten-free" version just for moi! Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day to All

Turkey Day feast

To those who have made my hobby a complete joy: Thank you for your support of me and this blog, for making me laugh and introducing me to wonderful new books. It's been a very blessed few months, and I'm extremely thankful to be a part of this YA blogging community. I hope you are enjoying some time off, some for reading, but mostly for family, friends and, of course, FEASTING.

Much love on this Turkey Day.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday 8

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments series, book 4)
By Cassandra Clare
432 pages
Margaret K. McElderry, to be released April 5, 2011

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

“Love, blood, betrayal and revenge — the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. Simon Lewis is having some trouble adjusting to his new life as a vampire, especially now that he hardly sees his best friend Clary, who is caught up in training to be a Shadowhunter—and spending time with her new boyfriend Jace. Not to mention that Simon doesn’t quite know how to handle the pressure of not-quite-dating two girls at once. What’s a daylight-loving vampire to do? Simon decides he needs a break and heads out of the city—only to discover that sinister events are following him. Realizing that the war they thought they’d won might not yet be over, Simon has to call on his Shadowhunter friends to save the day—if they can put their own splintering relationships on hold long enough to rise to the challenge.”

— Amazon.com description

Check out that nice, flashy counter down on the bottom-right corner of my page, just ticking down the time to April 5, 2011, when the latest installment in the Mortal Instrument series is released. I'm THAT excited.

Jace and Clary are one of my favorite couples, and I'm excited to see what's in store for them next. It sounds like this book is more Simon-focused, and while he's never been my favorite, Cassie Clare is such a master at creating alternate universes that I'm more than happy to go wherever she's going to take me in City of Fallen Angels. Can't wait!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty
By Libba Bray
December 9, 2003
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 403 pages

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

— Amazon.com description

This has actually never happened to me before: I don't know what to think of this book. See: I couldn't even pick a star rating.

I know! Me! The loud-mouthed, opinionated one. No clue.

This book is part of a series, and I think that has a lot to do with it. Gemma's story is just starting. I've barely got a taste of Kartik and feel there's much, much more of him—and Circe, and the realms, and Miss Moore—to come. To me, writing a review now feels a bit like judging a story when I've only read a few chapters.

I can say this: I am definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next. I wasn't swept away, and I'm not raving, but I have a lot of respect for what Bray created in A Great and Terrible Beauty. Her world was wonderfully crafted, and the feminist in me loves the way she took on women's status in Victorian society.

But there were parts, especially when the girls were in the realms, that I found myself reading and re-reading, unsure of what was happening. IT WAS SO TRIPPY. Plus, I was out of it with food poisoning while reading much of this. Double the trippy. Am I going to have acid flashbacks?

Another trouble spot was brought up by Jenn from Girls Just Reading. Gemma and her friends just seemed a little too modern for the book's historical setting. Which was great, because they were more relatable to me, but when such care was put into creating this perfect historical setting, some of the more modern dialogue threw me off. Though...I suppose I don't know how girls talked back then. Perhaps teenage girls will be teenage girls, no matter the century.

Readers seems to split people into two camps: Love or hate it. And I'm firmly split down the middle till I find out what happens next. Have you read it? What do you think? Would love to hear some other opinions!

If you like this book, you might also like: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard


The Lying Game
By Sara Shepard
December 7, 2010
HarperTeen, 320 pages

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1
New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

— Amazon.com description

The Lying Game is the first book of Shepard's that I've read, but I watch the Pretty Little Liars TV show like it's crack and I'm an addict. Do you guys not LOVE that show? I do not get how they have me rooting for these LIARS—especially the one trying to get with her English teacher—but they do!

This new series is sure to appeal to teen girls and fans of the books and TV show, but the narrative style was tricky for me to navigate. The story is told from Sutton's point of view, but as a ghost who is following Emma. It took me a few chapters to really grasp this setup, which meant it took some time to get into the book. Also: How can Emma possibly pose as her dead twin sister she never knew and get away with it that easily? I wish there had been a few more hiccups along the way for her to make it seem more plausible.

I think what Shepard does best is tackle the mean girl situation. The way she described the pranks these teens pulled on one another is really...creepy. Such detail, such nastiness. It made me uncomfortable, and it took me back to being bullied, which I think was her goal. She really succeeds in making it perfectly clear that pranks can quickly escalate and get out of control, that karma's a bitch when it comes to bullying and that pranking one another destroys lives and friendships. SO TRUE. Still, I do fear some 15-year-old brat somewhere is going to read this and start her own nasty version of the Lying Game.

Despite my problems with the book, I was still left wishing the next installment in the series was already out so I could find out what happens next. I love a good murder mystery, and it was an easy read to tear through. I think Shepard's books are probably as addicting as the TV shows they're based on. Which is double good news, because there's ALREADY a TV show in the works for the series! Can you believe that? You know I'll tune in.

If you like this book, you might also... Want to watch Mean Girls the movie! This book made me want to bust out my DVD and watch some Regina George knock-downs. It never gets old. Stop trying to make fetch happen, guys.

Special thanks to HarperTeen and NetGalley for sending me my copy of this book.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday 7

Happy Friday! It's time for Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday.

Book Blogger Hop

This week’s Hop question is: Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!

We don't really have any holiday traditions other than to EAT, EAT, EAT! I swear, if I ever have to pick a last meal, I'll choose my mom's Thanksgiving dinner. Especially the gravy. This year is my first gluten-free Thanksgiving, though, so we'll see how I survive on that front. This year, like every year, I'm feeling very blessed to have such a close and loving family. Plus, I got married this year, so the loving family part just doubled!

And, Follow Friday is asking: How long have you been book blogging?

Oh my gosh, not long. But it feels like FOREVER. Probably because it's now taken up SO MUCH of my time! I love every bit of it though—I expect to be doing this for quite a long time.

PS: Follow Friday is featuring my very awesome friend Ginger from GReads. So excited for her! Go check her out today.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday 7

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Deadly Little Games (A Touch Novel #3)
By Laurie Faria Stolarz
304 pages
Hyperion Book CH, to be released December 28, 2010

Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia's gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn't yet comprehend.

Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia's life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about...

— Amazon.com description

Creepy chase scenes, a loooove triangle, romantic tension, unexplainable paranormal things happening to the heroine. Forget raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens...THESE ARE MY FAVORITE THINGS!

The Touch series has all of this. Listen, this stuff isn't reinventing literature here. It's not changing lives, and it's not my all-time fave or anything. But it sure as heck is entertaining! I've read the first two books and I'm sure as heck not stopping now! Must know what happens to Ben & Camelia...

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Laurie Halse Anderson Signing with Tara



By Laurie Halse Anderson
October 19, 2010
Atheneum, 304 pages

In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

— Amazon.com description

My book signing adventures with Tara at Fiction Folio continued last night as we trekked out to Naperville yet again to meet the brilliant and brave author Laurie Halse Anderson at Anderson's Bookstore. Photobucket

I've loved Laurie since I read her book Speak, a story about a teen girl recovering from rape. Every 12-year-old girl, as Laurie said last night, should sit down with her mother and read Speak. Reading that book promotes conversation, healing and understanding, which could save a girl's life.

These difficult conversations seem to be what Laurie does best—eating disorders, cutting, race, war...the list goes on. Just seeing her talk to middle-schoolers and elementary school kids last night (her audience for Forge is a bit younger) made it clear that she knows how to communicate in a way that gets their full attention.

Laurie's latest books are Chains and its new sequel, Forge. This time, her characters are dealing with a serious issue that plagued our nation for centuries—slavery. Another difficult topic our young adults need to personalize and fully understand so that it never happens again.

She was so funny and sweet, and I'm thrilled we got to meet her. Plus, she says her husband built her a "writing cabin" and that most of their house is lit with oil lamps. The woman chops her own wood for heat. Could she be more awesome?

Also, for those who don't mind our insanity: Check out Tara & Anna's Epic Adventure, Part 2, in which we eat a lot of french fries.

Anna Reads young adult book blog
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...