Friday, May 29, 2009

WAY cool!!!

The list is well under way and it's AMAZING what web 2.0 can do! I feel like I'm part of a community of professionals - collaborating, creating, talking together. Guys, thanks for being a part of this!!
It's FRIDAY!!! I'm in the mancave hanging out with my lovely enjoying the weekend like no other. I'm just so thankful and proud to be part of this : )
You are the BOMB!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

YA: A2Z - Won't you join me?

So, on the listserv, I saw this creatively awesome idea, and thought about how I could change it up just a here's the plan:

Let's collaborate and create lists of YA books (no more than five years old) from A to Z. One is by title (ie A is for Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson); one by author (ie M is for Mazer, Norma Fox, author of Missing Girl); one by subject (ie S is for steroids, Raiders Night by Robert Lipsyte).

Another subject would be??? I thought, "Hmmmm...main character, genre, a tag you'd give a book..." the possibilities are endless!

So, want to join the fun? And in the process take away some pretty cool lists created by all of us? Read on!

To join, I need an email address. Once I have that, you're on! I've already started on all of these lists. This could be very interesting and valuable for us all : ) No one will "own" the list - once you're in, you're in, baby!

Just make sure you SAVE! And you can also download a .txt or .html version onto you computer to edit, own, create, etc...

Just another wonderful example of web 2.0! Brought to us by!

Here's the address:

Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson

Meet James Hoff - high school junior who doesn't drive and lately, doesn't have a girlfriend. Not a big deal, right? Well, welcome to his AP English essays...and welcome to his world...

His first assignment: a 4 page persuasive essay. James believes we must destroy all cars because:

1. It's a primitive machine that you put gas in and poison comes out. "Is it a good idea to start your car in your garage and sit beside it, reading the paper, while your garage fills up with exhaust? No. Then why would that be a good idea on global level?"

2. He's so sick of cars!!

3. The lameness of people in general because of their production and consumption of "USELESS CRAP."

His grade? They go up and down, matching his emotional state at the time. He just broke up with Sadie and the only way James knows how to deal with it is to write...and think about her...and try to hang out with friends...and think about her...

And then there's the competition. What does Sadie see in jock Will Greer? And then there's the dumpster-diving, food-eater Jedediah. Who'd want to be with someone who ate garbage you threw away - in the school cafeteria!?!

James's life is complicated. From Mr. Cogweiller's essay grading to adjusting to his father coming back home after leaving them to figuring out what he'll do after graduation to making a list of potential girls who'd want to hang out with him, James is elbow deep in everything a typical guy deals with. And what will happen with Sadie? And can the possibility of destroying all cars seriously destroy our government system? Oh, the possibilities...

Blake Nelson has written another fantastically funny and cleverly written book. James pops out of the pages and will make you laugh out loud. Rare is a book that will grab a YA that isn't about the grimmer things in life, and while a serious break-up is grim, Nelson puts a spin on this while adding issues that teens really are involved in. Perfect pairing and very on par with Jake Wizener's Spanking Shakespeare. Recommended.

If I Grow Up by Todd Strasser

DeShawn is alive....that's a good thing. He lives with his sister Nia and his Gramma in the projects. At night, ducking for cover while bullets fly isn't anything new. Seeing someone shot and dead is something that happens regularly. Knowing who's in charge is common knowledge.

DeShawn, Lightbulb, and Terrell live in the Frederick Douglass Projects, home of the Douglas Disciples. Across the neighborhood are their rivals, the Gentry Gangstas. At twelve years old, Deshawn and his buddies have seen people come and go through violence and drugs. And they also see the payback if you're good at what you do.

Slowly but surely, the devolving of these twelve year olds take place. By the time the boys are fifteen, life has become different than it was three years ago. Now it's about drugs, becoming fathers, getting jumped into the gang...owning your first gun. It's about putting food on your table, taking care of your family, protecting your gang and your turf. And at age eighteen, life for DeShawn, Lightbulb, and Terrell are dramatically changed - through experience, coincidence and choices made.

Wow....wowowowowowow...Strasser packs a PUNCH in this book. If you don't have firsthand knowledge of what the projects are, welcome to this experience. Strasser not only takes you there physically, but emotionally as well. The reader sees firsthand what kids face living in places like these, where the norm is death and the exception is a rap start or a basketball player. Year by year, you are drawn into the lives of these kids and during these times you'll find yourself caught by surprise. Personally, I am safe, protected, cushioned.... but there are those who aren't...

Strasser is a master of prefaces and afterwords as well as statistical data. Look at his past books, and this one is another exemplary work of research and fiction combined. Gritty realism permeates from beginning to end, and the reader is held spellbound till the end, hoping the fate of DeShawn correlates with the hopes the reader makes. A must-have for all YA collections.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Love You Hate You Miss You Booktrailer

I used Windows XP moviemaker....later I will use Vista, which has much more selection. Enjoy!!!

Books I'm reading and can't put down!!!

So...I was looking through the genre lists I've created for the library of all the books I've read over the past 3-4 years, and found my preferences pretty easily (can you guess what it is?) After that evaluation, I decided I needed to get on the ball and read some more supernatural fiction as well as guy books. The problem with these genres is that they get so mangled with the same plot (think of all the vampire books out there!!) or there just aren't a whole lot of new ones that are truly good (boy books are HARD to come by!!)
Yes - there are tons of titles out there, but they have to go through the Naomi filter. Can't wait to read the new Strasser book!! But...I have found two very well-worth reading books that when I booktalk them, I KNOW they'll go fast!
So, the low-down:

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop.
COOL cover!! Not only is the cover great, but so is the story!! It's the tale of a missing sophomore whose past is peppered with him taking off, but this time the fears of his buddies' minds take over, especially when the English teacher is parallelling Tommy's disappearance with the murderous tale of Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. Was Tommy murdered? Is he still alive? Can you push yourself so far as to believe the made-up world in your mind or stay grounded in the world you occupy?

Parliament of Blood by Justin Richards.
He is fast becoming one of my most favorite English authors. Chaos Code, Death Collector...and now this one. Take Victorian England, throw in the social class of intellectual, and mix it with the environment of that era, including coal-smogged streets, carriages, and elite clubs joined only by invitation. Put in the Museum of London and an old sarcophagus, some teens and the presence of vampires, and you have a great YA historical fiction fused with the supernatural. It does very much remind me of the classic Dracula but does so much for more the target audience of today's YA set!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott

75 days since the accident, and Julia...I love you...

Amy and Julia have been close friends, nearly sisters, since junior high. They've both seen the ups and downs of friendships formed and lost, boys come and gone, and high school society, including the parties they both attended regularly. But now Julia is gone, and Amy knows she the one responsible for her death.

114 days since the accident, and Julia....I miss you...

After the funeral and rehab for her drinking, Amy has to face the challenges of school life on her own. And she realizes that her life after the accident hasn't changed. Her parents are still exclusively into each other, her therapist doesn't know what she's thinking or feeling, and everyone at school is pretending they miss Julia as well, from her boyfriend (who cheated on her) to old friends, like Caro and Beth (who put on a good show). Amy is lost and all she wants is a drink.

Even though her life is going on, Amy can't shake her guilt, her responsibility, and the punishment she thinks she deserved. She now sits at the loser table at lunch with moustache girl, who also ignores her. It hurts, but Amy knows it's all deserved. Everyone knows she's guilty...everyone...

But it's during an English group that a door silently opens up for Amy. An old friend, another solitary person who creates a spark in Amy unlike anything she's ever felt before - will she allow that door to open or shut it, herself, and her memories of Julia inside?

135 days since the accident, and Julia, I hate you...

Part in diary format, part in real time, this book hits the rise and fall of a friendship and the emotional needs of the main character. Elizabeth Scott has addressed the issue of emotional and physical trauma and created a tale of a broken girl put back together again through her own strength as well as those around her, whether she wants them there or not. Parental characters take on a strong role in this novel and transformation can be seen across the spectrum in a story of love, loss and the steps it takes to become whole again. A good pair with Sarah Aronson's Head Case. Recommended.