January 31, 2014

Reality Boy - A.S. King

Title: Reality Boy

Author: AS King
Pages: 368
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From goodreads.comGerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.
Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.

My first A.S. King and I LOVED IT.  I was a little nervous at first because I knew it was magical realism (and I've never read magical realism before,) but it worked so perfectly here that it didn't even seem weird.

You really carve a place out in your heart for Gerald.  He's been done so wrong by everything: his parents, his sister, his experiences.  You can't help but want things to get better for him.  I loved that Hannah wasn't a magical cure for everything in Gerald's life.  It gets messy and he wants things to go slow because he's been burned by pretty much everyone he's ever encountered.  Also that her family is far from perfect and she has issues of her own.  This book is really a portrait of imperfect people and families who are doing what they think is best to survive.  It turns out that their best isn't working.  All the slow reveals have perfect timing.  I can't wait to read more from A.S. King!

January 30, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars Trailer is finally here!

Overall, I think it looks awesome, but some of the dialogue feels a bit clunky to me.  I hope it's just because it's a trailer, and once I'm sufficiently immersed in the movie I won't care anymore.  I love that they used the book fonts and colors.  And when she says, "Okay," I seriously got the shivers, so that's a good sign.
Now all we have is the long wait until June.  (But there's going to be plenty of YA adaptations to keep us busy until then!)  What do you guys think of the trailer?

January 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (55)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Vengeance
Author: Megan Miranda
Pub Date: 2.4.14
From goodreads.com: Nobody really believes in a curse. Until you know the people who disappear. Too much coincidence, you look for reason. Too much death, you grasp for something to blame. Carson pulled Delaney out and he died on the side of the road with her mouth pressed to his. Her air in his body. Troy. She told the cops it was suicide. Didn't matter. The lake released her and grabbed another. But when Decker's father dies in a pool of spilled water on their kitchen floor, all Decker can feel is a slow burning rage. Because he knows that Delaney knew that his dad was going to die. She knew and backed out of his house and never said a word. Falcon Lake still has a hold on them both, and Decker can't forgive Delaney until he knows why.

January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (62)

This week's topic is

With the influx of dystopian books/series that we've seen over the past couple of years I feel like there are just so many worlds that I would absolutely go nowhere near.

Starters immediately pops into my mind because I'm reading Enders now.  A world full of only the elderly and the young, where unclaimed kids live in hiding and rich old people can rent out young bodies to do whatever they please?  No thanks.

Delirium, where love is an illness with a mandated vaccine that you get when you come of age.

Divergent, a world where extreme values decide where and how you'll spend your time.

Matched, where the society has decided everything for you AND has the bonus of having had most of the art, books, and music destroyed.  Censorship, yay.

The Hunger Games.  I wouldn't last ten minutes in the arena.  Hell, I probably wouldn't even make it INTO the arena.

The Darkest Minds, where the kids who've survived a mysterious illness are either gathered into "rehab" camps or being hunted down by people who want to use their newly acquired powers for personal gain.

Now, there are some decidedly not dystopian worlds I'd rather not be a part of also.

Harry Potter.  I know, I know, but that's the dream, you cry.  I just...I would so not want to be around during the Second Wizarding War.  Let me be transported in after the, "All was well" (or any point in the 19 years after the war) and I'm totally there.

The 5th Wave, where if the first four plagues didn't get you, the aliens disguised as humans probably will.

Everneath, where a rock band culls life force from their fans to be immortal.

Anna Dressed in Blood.  I love scary stuff, but if ghost hunting was my real life I'd be scared out of my mind.

What about you guys?  Where would you definitely NOT want to be?

January 27, 2014

Congratulations Award Winners!

Congratulations to this year's winners!  It's so awesome to see everyone on my twitter feed so excited about these books.  The only ones I've read are Doll Bones and Eleanor & Park, so I can't wait to check out the rest!

January 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (54)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Teen Spirit
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Pub Date: 2.4.14
From goodreads.com: After Julie's grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.

When the two try to contact Julie's grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.

January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (61)

This week's topic is

I didn't come up with ten this week, but here's a few things I want to see more of in YA books.

January 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (53)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Author: Jenny Hubbard
Pub Date: 1.28.14
From goodreads.com:  When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

January 13, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (60)

This week's topic is

Here are a few I'm looking forward to reading in no particular order:

Side Effects May Vary - Julie Murphy - 3.18.14
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.
Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

The Art of Lainey - Paula Stokes - 5.20.14
Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame. 
Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn't someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn't going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him... 

Ask Again Later - Liz Czukas - 3.11.14
Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there's only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.
Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother's best friend really be?Tails: The theater geek...with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart's interests--even if he wants to share all his feelings?Heart's simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all...

Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira - 4.1.14
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

The Break-Up Artist - Philip Siegel - 4.29.14
Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

Open Road Summer - Emery Lord - 4.15.14
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

Far From You - Tess Sharpe - 4.8.14
Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.
The first time, she's fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that'll take years to kick.The second time, she's seventeen, and it's no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina's brother won't speak to her, her parents fear she'll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.

Something Real - Heather Demetrios - 2.4.14
There’s nothing real about reality TV.
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

Elusion - Claudia Gabel - 3.18.14
Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.
A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.
Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.
Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

The Chance You Won't Return - Annie Cardi - 4.22.14
Driver's ed and a first crush should be what Alex Winchester is stressed out about in high school - and she is. But what's really on her mind is her mother. Why is she dressing in Dad's baggy khaki pants with a silk scarf around her neck? What is she planning when she pores over maps in the middle of the night? When did she stop being Mom and start being Amelia Earhart? Alex tries to keep her budding love life apart from the growing disaster at home as her mother sinks further into her delusions. But there are those nights, when everyone else is asleep, when it's easier to confide in Amelia than it ever was to Mom. Now, as Amelia's flight plans become more intense, Alex is increasingly worried that Amelia is planning her final flight - the flight from which she never returns. What could possibly be driving Mom's delusions, and how far will they take her?

Do you guys have any debuts you're looking forward to checking out?

January 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Hollow City
Author: Ransom Riggs
Pub Date: 1.14.14
From bn.com: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

January 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (59)

This week's topic is

I'm sticking to five resolutions for the blog this year.  This way I can focus more on them (or so I tell myself).

1. Write more reviews.  Sometimes I read so quickly that I don't get my thoughts down on paper.  Once I move on, forget it, I can't write anything.  By my count, I only posted 9 reviews last year.  My goal this year is 20.  It's such a small fraction of what I read, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do it.

2. Post more reviews.  I have a number of reviews from last year, basically fully written, sitting in a notebook.  I just never remember to type them up.  This year I WILL post everything I write.

3. Complete all challenges I sign up for.  Last year I fell way short on the debut author challenge and that won't happen again this year.

4. Be better about staying on top of my reading.  I did finish my goodreads challenge in 2012 and 2013, but in both cases I filled the end of the year with novellas and kids books trying to meet my goal.  On one hand, this was good because I am a kids bookseller and this helped me give better recommendations, but it makes it feel like an empty victory on the challenge side of things.

5. Be a more organized blogger.  I used to at least have a loose blogging schedule that I kept to.  That definitely fell by the wayside towards the end of this year.  I hope to get back on track, or maybe even come up with a new schedule to keep things fresh.

My blogging resolutions are all kind of basic this year.  Have you guys resolved to do anything fun?  Let me know in the comments!