Did you see what I was trying to do there in the title with the Wizard of Oz reference? No? Oh well, moving on with my geeky self. Last night, was like nonsexual YA orgy of amazingness. I got to go to my favorite bookstore and see/meet three favorite authors. The crowd and energy in the room was nuts. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen more folks come out to Books of Wonder before. I got their half an hour early and was apparently the 70th person there … bananas! Continue reading “Sarah Dessen & Jenny Han & Jennifer E. Smith … Oh my!”
I met Laura Silverman at the end of my orientation at New School. I was a nervous and slightly overwhelmed new student who’d moved to New York City that week and was still scared of taking the subway. She was a confident and wise second year in my MFA program, who told me to check out my now-favorite bookstore Books of Wonder and gave advice about professors. Even though she was younger than me, I definitely looked up to her – and I still do. So it was lovely to lose myself in her debut novel Girl Out of Water this weekend. I started reading it on a sunny day in the park. After having to take a break for a friend’s dinner party, I finished the book late that night. As much as I like sleep, I liked Anise’s story better. Seventeen-year-old Anise loves surfing and is intensely connected to her California hometown. But when her aunt is injured, she and her Dad must spend the summer in Nebraska helping to take care of Anise’s three younger cousins. Anise expects a summer of boredom and wistfully checking up on her friends back home. But a cute, one-armed skateboarder named Lincoln (swoon!) and her growing connection to her cousins, cause her to lose touch with her friends and her surfer identity in Santa Cruz. Continue reading “Girl Out of Water, by Laura Silverman”
I have major love for Lara Jean Covey and all the Song girls. I like that she is a shy, quiet, bookish girl who finds her confidence not by losing her shyness or a boy liking her – but through her own journey. I like her relationship with her sisters and the way Margot and Kitty have changed over the last three books. I like the cultural details of being half Korean American that are weaved in and out of the narrative. I’ve said this several times now, but reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was formative to my interest in writing contemporary YA. Hearing Jenny Han speak at The National Book Festival in 2012 was formative to my decision to move to New York City and get my MFA in writing for children and teenagers. So yeah, I’ve been looking forward to reading the third and final Lara Jean book since I found out it was happening. And, as expected, it did not disappoint. Continue reading “Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han”
I knew I’d like this book. Correction: I knew I’d love this book. Becky Albertalli’s debut, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was pure magic (I’m shocked I didn’t review it when it came out). But I didn’t just love this book – I love, love, LOVED (add in a million heart eye emojis) it. I know as a writer I should probably have better, more specific words, but I don’t. My love of this book, of these words that Becky Albertalli wrote, transcends my ability to describe it. The story was that good and, perhaps more specifically, that perfect for me.
The story starts with 17-year-old Molly saying she’s had 26 crushes and no boyfriends (you and me both, girl). When her twin sister Cassie starts dating her first girlfriend, Molly vows to be less careful. She should probably be less careful with the new girlfriend’s flirtatious, hipster-boy best friend, Will. But there’s also Reid, her new coworker with too-white sneakers, Middle Earth (correction Middle-earth) t-shirts, and an awkward affinity for Renaissance Fairs. Who Molly totally doesn’t like. Because she can talk to him. And she can never talk to her crushes. That’s how this is supposed to work, right? Continue reading “The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli”
When it came time to think of my favorite read of March, two books instantly came to mind. One I already reviewed (and by reviewed I mean gushed over) on this blog. The other is We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour. Gosh, this book is beautiful. With full, nuanced characters and an emotional, nonlinear, sparse pacing my emotions were running high while reading the story of eighteen-year-old Marin. After a family tragedy, Marin leaves her California beach town to head to college in New York City two weeks early. She doesn’t say goodbye or offer explanations to anyone in her life, not even her best friend Mabel.
In the present of the story, Mabel is coming to visit Marin during winter break. They haven’t talked since the summer. Mabel has questions. Marin wants to avoid thinking about anything having to do with her old life. Continue reading “We Are Okay, by Nina LaCour”
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas has received no shortage of praise. It’s been #1 on the New York Times YA bestseller list for two weeks in a row and received eight starred reviews (which I didn’t even know was possible!). John Green called the book “a classic of our time.” Kirkus said the book was “necessary” and “important,” while Publisher’s weekly wrote that it was “heartbreakingly topical.” I could go on and on and on and on an on, etc. My point is there are far better and more insightful reviews of this book that spell out why it is so important and so good in equal measure. In fact, I would check out my friend Charlotte’s review and Amanda at The Bookcraft’s review; both discuss race and representation in a way that I cannot. Still, despite all the voices currently singing the praise of this book, I want to add my thoughts to the masses.
I. Loved. This. Book.
So glad to have Top Ten Tuesday back! There are so many great books coming out this year that I’m excited to read. I’m going to see Angie Thomas talk about her new book The Hate U Give at Books of Wonder this Thursday, so that will probably be the first one to knock of the list. I was so so thrilled to see it debut at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list last week! What books are you excited to read this spring? Continue reading “Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR”