September 2007

INVISIBLE LIVES is a sweet and sort of predictable read in that chick-lit way, but the Indian and paranormal twists make  it good fun and add a unique element to the more predictable parts of the story.

Lakshmi Sen is a young Indian woman in Seattle with an odd ability to read people’s emotions. She physically sees them  (this is the supernatural part of the story but it is not addressed as supernatural–the story is not about explaining this ability),  and this gives her a great advantage where she works in her mother’s sari shop…

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First off, I’ve got to say this was a really sad book and made me quite depressed after reading it. But that’s a great compliment; it wasn’t supposed to be a happy book, and that it affected me so deeply speaks to its brilliance.

BJ is a teenaged girl with low self-esteem who finds herself a target for bullies at school. Alex is her best friend, much higher up than her, socially, and seemingly so together, so confident. When a new boy, David, enters their lives, he throws things off, and sets off a chain of events in which queen bees Victoria and Rachel manipulate BJ, humiliate Alex, and unwittingly create disastrous consequences.

This powerful, profoundly gut-wrenching and thought provoking novel is a must-read. Alma Fullerton is a brilliant writer, and her amazing characters really come to life on the page.  A frighteningly honest story about friendship, survival, and secrets, this is a story that will stay with readers.

Five Stars

TRIPPING TO SOMEWHERE is a highly original, sort of surreal and very edgy fantasy book that is one of those that sort of blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, leaving you with lots of questions (but that’s the way it should be) and perhaps in sort of a fog left over from the reading of a fantastic book!

Kristopher Reisz’s novel centers around Sam and Gilly, two teenage girls, who take off in an attempt to catch the Witches’ Carnival, a sort of supernatural band of powerful beings. They leave behind their real lives with no thought to the consequences they’ll have to face if they return, chasing the whisper of a dream that so few people have managed to catch.

A lovely, haunting novel, TRIPPING TO SOMEWHERE is a surprisingly fast read. It’s very fast-paced, and quite real and honest (considering it’s full of unreal supernatural things!). I adored the strong characters, too. This is a pretty intense book, but if you’re prepared for that, you’ll love it.

Four 1/2 Stars

The September issue of the Edge of the Forest is up!  As always, they’ve got some great reviews and articles.

Don’t forget 31 Flavorite Authors, sponsored by Readergirlz, all next month! Every night, you’ll get the chance to chat with another awesome YA author.

Don’t forget to enter your fairy-tale based poem or story in Alyssa’s contest at The Shady Glade by the 28th! You’ll have the chance to win some truly awesome prizes.

Guess what? It’s time for the Cybils again!  This is the second annual Cybils awards. Here’s a description of the awards, from the website, in case you missed them last year:

The internet’s first literary awards are back.

Like all revolutions, this one started small, with a single post on a blog devoted to children’s literature. The Newbery Awards seemed too elitist and the Quills, well, not enough so. Was there a middle ground, an annual award that would recognize both a book’s merits and popularity?

The Cybils found that middle ground. The public nominates their favorite children’s books from 2007 in seven categories: Picture Books; Non-fiction Picture Books; Middle Grade fiction; Poetry; Young Adult fiction; Non-fiction (YA/MG); and Graphic Novels. Nominations open on October 1.

When we say “the public,” we mean it. Anyone with an e-mail address may nominate one book per category. Then groups of bloggers get to work. First, a nominating committee reads ALL the titles in a given category. After nearly two arduous months, this committee winnows the nominees to five finalists. A second committee of bloggers considers the shortlist and, after much debate, chooses the best of the best for 2007.

Because The Cybils is a blogger-run, blogger-inspired awards process, we operate with the expectation of openness and transparency. If you have any question about the process—any question at all—please feel free to e-mail Anne or Kelly at any time.

This year, I’m very excited to be a panelist! I didn’t get to help out last year, but this year I’m on the nominating panel for MG Fiction, with fabulous people like Miss Erin.

Make sure you don’t forget to nominate some of your favorite titles when the nominations start in a week! Meanwhile, check out the Cybils blog and forum.

Next month, I’m going to participate in the 24 Hour Read-a-thon, hosted by The Hidden Side of a Leaf. I’m quite excited to have an excuse to spend a whole 24 hours reading! Check it out–even if you’re not a blogger or don’t want to read for 24 hours straight, they need cheerleaders, too!

I watched the premiere of Gossip Girl on television the other night (if you missed it, it’s now at the CW’s website), both because I usually try to catch as many series premieres as possible to see what’s worth continuing to watch, and because it’s based on a best-selling series of YA books.

I’ve never read the books; to be honest, they never seemed like they’d be that good to me. However, I did enjoy the television show–it’s a good guilty-pleasure show! I still don’t think I’ll be reading the books, but I will keep watching the TV show, and maybe this will open it up for more YA books to hit the small screen (wishful thinking, probably). I read some people who complained about what they changed from the books, but that wasn’t an issue to me. I liked most of the characters–Serena, very much, although I’m told she’s quite different in the books. One complaint I read was that they put the parents in the TV show, and they weren’t big parts of the books. I actually do think the show would be better without the parents’ stories, but I guess they’re trying to appeal to a wider audience.

Anyone else watch it? Have you read the books? What did you think?

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