Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top 10 Summer Books for Teens

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:
Top 10 Books That Should Be in a Beach Bag

1. Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #5: California Girls! by Ann M. Martin

When the baby-sitters win the lottery, they go to California with Dawn. Jessi lands a part in a television show, Stacey becomes a surfer girl, and the girls still have time for baby-sitting, sight-seeing, and the beach!

2. Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Three Georgia peaches are in for one juicy summer ... but Birdie would rather eat Thin Mints and sulk in the A/C. Leeda would prefer to sneak off with her boyfriend, Rex. And Murphy would much rather cause a little mischief. Together these three very different girls will discover the secret to finding the right boy, making the truest of friends, and picking the perfect Georgia peach.

3. Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores.

4. Caribbean Cruising by Rachel Hawthorne
The perfect summer story of a girl, several boys, and a cruise ship full of possibilities. Lindsay has never been on a cruise, but she knows exactly what she wants to do now that she is: climb a waterfall, snorkel, meet lots of cute guys, and look for one perfect guy for a summer fling.

5. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen Ever since her parents began fighting, Auden has been unable to sleep at night. Now, spending a summer at a charming beach town with her father and his new family, she has to find new places to pass the time she spends awake. And so she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac who becomes her nighttime guide.

6. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

7. How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad, a.k.a. “Sperm Donor,” for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army.

8. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad.

9. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him.

10. Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot
She's juggling two boyfriends, secretly hating the high school football team everyone else worships, and trying to have the best summer ever. At least Katie has it all under control (sort of). Her biggest secret, what really happened the night "Tommy Sullivan is a freak" was spray-painted on the junior high gymnasium wall, is safe. That is, until Tommy comes back to town. Katie is sure he's going to ruin all her plans, and she'll do anything to hang on to her perfect existence. Even if it means telling more lies. Even if, now that Tommy's around, she's actually—truthfully—having the time of her life.

11. Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott (I love summer books -- there was no stopping at 10!)

Dani has been trained as a thief by the best there is—her mother. They never stay in one place long enough for Dani to have real connections, real friends—a real life. But in the town of Heaven, everything changes. Suddenly, Dani must question where her loyalties lie: with the life she's always known—or the one she's always wanted.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, May 30, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky Review

By Katie Kacvinsky
May 23, 2011
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 320 pages

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

— Amazon.com description

The book follows a young girl caught in a future reality in which almost all human interaction is digitized. School, relationships, even going on walks or out to the movies, all happen from the comfort of your home computer. Even when people are together, they rarely look up from their smartphones to have a serious conversation.

So, warning: Do not read this book on your Kindle, Nook or other e-reader. It will make you feel very, very uncomfortable. I even feel weird talking about it online. I need to go door-to-door, singing its praises or something.

And oh, how I want to sing them!

It’s a frighteningly realistic future, and there’s definitely a moral here. But the book is never preachy.

Instead, it’s wild and exciting and romantic. I don’t even want to say more. I want you to go order this stunning debut so I have people to talk to about it. Even if it is online.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for my review copy of this book.

You might also like: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Expo America Report 3


Me & Lauren Oliver


Meg Cabot & Me


Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Lots of other really lovely things happened (Lisa McMann! Maggie Stiefvater! Libba Bray! Elizabeth Scott! Julie Kagawa! And more more more!), but I am so tired I can hardly function. Book Blogger Con tomorrow, then home sweet home.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Expo America Report 2

Me & author/rockstar Cindy Pon

1. Meeting Cindy Pon (see photographic evidence), Alexandra Bracken, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Rachel Vincent, Ally Carter, Tahereh Mafi AND MORE.

2. Sitting at a table with some super book bloggers and the lovely author Amanda Havard at children's breakfast while hearing Sarah Dessen talk.

3. Richelle Mead. I met her. And she said my stupid stick figure thing was "cute." AHHH! Photographic evidence to come. I hope.

4. I spent three hours in the same room as Daniel "Harry Potter" Radcliffe at "How to Succeed at Business Without Really Trying."

5. Books. I'm trying not to be spoiled about it. But there were SO. MANY. BOOKS.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Top 10 Bookish Lies I've Told

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:
Top 10 Bookish Lies I've Told

10. “I actually remember what happened in Catcher in the Rye.”

9. “I'm going to read the book club book this time.”

8. “I don’t care how many followers I have on my blog.”

7. “Tara and I went out today during our lunch hours.”
(By “went out” I clearly meant we: “Sat together silently while reading like nerds.”)

6. “I read more than just young adult books.”

5. “I knew that was how you pronounce Ayn Rand. I’m not TOTALLY uncultured!”

4. “How dare you compare the Bronte sisters to Jane Austen? They are SO different.”

3. “I know which Bronte sister is which.”

2. “A book needs to have more than just romance to appeal to me.”

1. “A Team Edward T-shirt? God, I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those.”

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Expo America Report 1

Lindsi (Books, Sweets & Other Treats), Jeri Smith-Ready (author of Shade and Shift) and me!

5 Noteworthy Things That Have Happened So Far:
1. Lauren Oliver hugged me.
2. The Simon & Schuster ladies rocked my socks off.
3. Jeri Smith-Ready hugged me. (See photographic evidence.)
4. Every book blogger I've met has been kind and happy.
5. I got my greedy little hands on The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Congrats to My Elizabeth Scott Week Winner

Congrats to Kayla L., the winner of a FULL BOX SET of Elizabeth Scott's books. How cool is that?!  You will love them so.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: I am in New York.
PPS: It is awesome.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott Review

By Elizabeth Scott
March 24, 2009
Simon Pulse, 224 pages

Everyone thinks their parents are embarrassing, but Hannah knows she's got them all beat. Her dad made a fortune showcasing photos of pretty girls and his party lifestyle all over the Internet, and her mom was once one of her dad's girlfriends and is now the star of her own website. After getting the wrong kind of attention for way too long, Hannah has mastered the art of staying under the radar...and that's just how she likes it.

Of course, that doesn't help her get noticed by her crush. Hannah's sure that gorgeous, sensitive Josh is her soul mate. But trying to get him to notice her; wondering why she suddenly can't stop thinking about another guy, Finn; and dealing with her parents make Hannah feel like she's going crazy. Yet she's determined to make things work out the way she wants -- only what she wants may not be what she needs....

Once again, Elizabeth Scott has created a world so painfully funny and a cast of characters so heartbreakingly real that you'll love being a part of it from unexpected start to triumphant finish.

— Amazon.com description

I read. A lot. Clearly, right? Well, that means I plow through books and don't have much time to reread -- it's always on to something new. So when I do reread a book, you know it was THAT good.

So you'll understand what it means when I say this: I've already reread two Elizabeth Scott books this year.

One of them was Something, Maybe. I cannot recommend it enough.

The only way I can think to describe Elizabeth's writing is that she writes like she's her reader's best friend. She gets your thought processes, she makes you laugh, she knows just when to hit you in the head and when to hit you in the heart, and she knows a swoonworthy boy when she sees him.

Oh, boy, does she ever know her romance! In this book, ultimately, it's all about the bumbling, blushing, kind-hearted fool of a boy. And I say bring it on! Finn is clearly the underdog, but he'll make you "feel all wobbly even though you're sitting down," as Hannah puts it.

And the humor is just spot-on. You guys, this really is my favorite type of book. If you're into contemporaries -- think along the lines of Sarah Dessen -- it's a must-read. 

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Don't forget to enter here for a chance to win a FULL set of her book -- donated by Elizabeth herself! Doesn't get better than this, guys. Enter by 12 p.m. CST on Saturday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Expo America, Here I Come

Friends, as I mentioned before, I'm running away next week to move and shake my way through Book Expo America and Book Blogger Convention in New York City, so the blog may be a little quiet. What's BEA, you ask?

Basically it's a place for book dorks to come together and swoon and not get stared at for being weird. There. I said it. I'M JUST BEING HONEST.

And I can't wait for it! There will be autograph signings, chances for me to meet with publishers and a ton of fun events -- hopefully many involving cocktails! I think this experience may be a little, um, overwhelming... (see photographic evidence below)

...but I'm pumped to meet some of my favorite authors, get up to some mischief with fellow bloggers and mix and mingle with the publishers. NYC, here I come!

If you'll be at BEA too, come say hi! Here's a little "facial recognition therapy" to help...

Moi as I am typing this. 
Honestly, I'm a little nervous that no one will recognize me, SO LOOK CLOSELY! And say hi! I'm not a shy person, though, so...maybe don't be alarmed if I come running up to YOU. Looking forward to making some great new bookish friends!

Wish me luck if you're staying home, and follow along on Twitter to see what I'm up to.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales Review

By Leila Sales
October 5, 2010
Simon Pulse, 368 pages

The higher you aim, the farther you fall….

It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.

When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge, epic failure?

— Amazon.com description

High school isn't about vampires or crime fighting or even just about boys. It's about friendships and falling out and siblings and parental strife and angst and laughter and dancing and making mistakes and AP tests and finding yourself. If you just read young adult books, you'd probably forget that.

This book gets that and brought me back to a sense of what young adulthood is really about. It represents the stories and lessons and memories of my high school experience...well, minus the boarding school bit and plus a lot more comedy.

I loved Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian for the same reason I love Mostly Good Girls -- because it represented a worldview similar to mine in high school. It just seemed real.

Leila Sales translates the high school experience perfectly to the page. Leila, I love you. Where have you been all my life? You clearly would have been my Katie.

You might also like: Leila's hilarious blog! This is the concept:
When you send a text message on the Verizon network, you can address your text by choosing a name out of your contact list, or you can address it by typing in a phone number. You can also type in a name. And if you type in L-E-I-L-A, then-- bizarrely-- your text will come to me. This is a blog about the texts I have received. All of them are from strangers, intended for other Leilas, but obviously they missed their marks.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top 10 Minor Characters in Books

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is: 
Top 10 Minor Characters in Books

Movies? No prob. TV? I can rattle off 10 great minor characters right now. Books were harder for some reason -- I only made it to eight! 

1.  Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Oh, Luna. Let's face it: The girl is crazy. But she's also kind, forgiving and always there for her friends in a pinch. Seriously, she's my favorite Harry Potter character.

2. Myrnin from the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine
Speaking of crazy...Myrnin certainly brings it. But, like Luna, the batsh*t vamp means well. We hope so, anyway.

3. Rue from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Who didn't cry in the Rue scene? Seriously, who? Just wait for the movie! Look at her cute little face.

4.  Grimalkin from the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
The sarcastic trickster is a "cait sith," but in my mind he's the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. When he enters a scene, you know things are gonna get interesting.

5. Seth in The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
In the midst of all the "me me me" dramarama in these books, Seth is just a nice kid who, instead of brooding, tries to be normal and just do the right thing. Crazy refreshing.

6. Marin in the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty
Okay, so she's just a kid in the books, but she pretty much said exactly what we were all thinking (SPOILER ALERT):

"YES! You and Marcus still LOVE LOVE LOVE each other because you and Marcus are TRUE SOUL MATES even though you haven't seen each other in, like, FOREVER, but it's just like MOM and E-CAR JERRY, who didn't see each other after, like, FOREVER, and it was, like, WHAMMO! BLAMMO! Cupid's ARROW with, like, MANY INTIMATE MOMENTS, and they knew it was FATE and DESTINY that had brought them back together..."

7. Clare in Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
I JUST finished this book, and the review is still on the way, but I adored Clare. I'm so sick of girls backstabbing their friends or abandoning them or stealing their men. Clare was just a genuinely kind, supportive girl who wanted the best for her new friend. Love it.

8. Susannah from the Summer series by Jenny Han
Fun and loving...she lightened up the lives of everyone she touched in these books.

Who are your faves?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Elizabeth Scott Week + Giveaway

Wednesday 5/18 - Bloom @ Fiction Folio
Thursday 5/19 - Perfect You @ I Eat Words
Friday 5/20 - Something, Maybe @ Anna Reads
SUPER Saturday 5/21 - Living Dead Girl GReads, Love You, Hate You, Miss You @ I Eat Words and GraceThe Secret Life of an Avid Reader
Sunday 5/22 - Stealing Heaven @ Addicted 2 Novels
Monday 5/23 - The Unwritten Rule @ GReads
Tuesday 5/24 - Between Here and Forever @ The Secret Life of an Avid Reader

Wednesday marks the launch of Elizabeth Scott Week, a little celebration thrown by moi and a few other bloggers to celebrate the fabulousness that is Ms. Scott just in time for the May 24 launch of her new book, Between Here and Forever.

Her book Stealing Heaven is one of my all-time favorite contemporary reads. Remember the post I did about her appreciation for good boys? This is one of my favorite part of Elizabeth's novels -- a guy doesn't have to be dangerous and brooding to get the girl! I could go on and on (in fact, I did here), but instead I encourage you to check out the blogs above for their reviews and head back here on Friday for my take on Something, Maybe.

Elizabeth, forever endearing herself to me EVEN MORE, also generously offered us each a set of her books for giveaway. Seriously guys, this is huge. I would loooooove one of these for myself, but now it's your chance. Fill out the form below to enter and be sure to also sign up below to join in with your own post on Elizabeth Scott!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi Review

By Paolo Bacigalupi
May 1, 2010
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 336 pages

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. . . .

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

— Amazon.com description

This is the first young adult book I've read in a long time -- ever? -- that I'd recommend to my husband. In this book, Paolo Bacigalupi has created a brutal, vivid dystopian world that has a beautiful cinematic quality to it, which I think would really appeal to him (and to a lot of male readers, really).

It was so gritty and imaginative that you could just visualize it all. Cold, filthy, crumbling, merciless...this is not a world you'd want to live in. But it was so well-written that it seemed frighteningly real. 

Something about Ship Breaker felt so unlike the books I normally read, yet I really enjoyed it. I could have done without some of the sci-fi aspects (half-men, half-dog people?), but kudos to Bacigalupi for making such an abrasive work seem appealing to a girl who usually judges a book on how much kissing is involved.

Bonus? It was a National Book Award Finalist and won the Printz Award. So, yeah, pretty good stuff.

You might also like: It's DEFINITELY more girly, but ... The Ugly Series by Scott Westerfield

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Waiting On" Book Expo America

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

Oh, this might not count, but I sort of don't even care right now because all my anticipation is focused on ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY:

From May 22-28, I'll be in New York City to attend Book Expo America and Book Blogger Convention. There will be fabulous publisher events, author signings, outings with my blogger friends and more. Oh, I'm thrilled! Tune in that week for updates from me here and on Twitter.

Now? What am I "waiting on" this Wednesday? Meeting these fabulous authors at the week's events:

- Megan McCafferty
- Gayle Forman
- Lauren Oliver
- Jeri Smith-Ready
- Sarah Dessen
- Cindy Pon
- Elizabeth Scott
- Rachel Vincent
- Ally Carter
- Lisa McMann
- Julie Kagawa
- Richelle Mead
- Maggie Stiefvater
- Alexandra Bracken
- Anna Godbersen
- Sarah Mlynowski

I can't even handle all the excitement. Leave me a note in the comments if you're going to be there -- I'd love to meet up!

Anna Reads young adult book blog
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