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Book Tour: Rene from A Scary Scene

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I am very pleased to that Rene has stopped by to answer a few questions…Without further ado I give you Rene! 

If you could be a Superhero and have any Super Power who & what would that be? And why?
 Batman is the best superhero ever invented and I prefer him over any other superhero because he has a dark side, like me, and wants to fight evil, like me, and has a messed up home life, like me, and drives a Batmobile like . . . I don’t drive yet, but when I do, you know my car preference. 

The thing about Batman, though, is that he doesn’t really have a superpower.  He’s just an ordinary guy married to his missions instead of the one he loves.  Like me.  
Outside of Cereal, Lucky Charms, is there any other food you feel you have to eat?

I enjoy and feel compelled to eat Frosty’s from Wendy’s, but only in romantic moments.

Can you tell us a bit more about Ariel? 

Aside from her red hair, and the fact that she’s even more beautiful than Ariel from The Little Mermaid, she isn’t snobby and doesn’t say like, like, like, like all the other girls in my class.  She probably does her own laundry and takes excellent care of any pet she’s ever owned.  She also has nice eyelashes and nice ears and a nose that isn’t too big or too small but just right.  She wouldn’t make fun of me if I told her that I like lightning bugs, and she’d blush if I told her that her smile turns lightning bugs on.  She wouldn’t point out the sexual innuendo in that line either, wouldn’t laugh at me for saying she “turns lightning bugs on.”  Her hands are as smooth as silly putty.  Her voice reminds me of seashells.  She loves kids and butter popcorn and she loves that I’m cheesy.  And her voice melts me into fondu.    

Can you tell us a bit more about Gio? What do you like the most about him?

He talks to me – the same can’t be said about most other human beings at my high school.  Plus, he’s daring like Batman and me, he’s as random as a lottery that isn’t fixed, he’s as smart as Albert Einstein was before he died, he’s as tall as a clerk that is six feet tall, he’s as poetic as a poet that is so poetic that people rename them Mr. Poem B. Poetic or Mrs. Poem B. Poetica, he’s as smooth as Rumplesmoothkskin, when it comes to brain power he’s the World’s Strongest Man, he’s more mature than someone smoking a pipe while wearing a bowtie and eating kasha with bowties, and he’s not only better than Gillette which is supposedly the best a man can get, he’s also my best friend, my best counselor, and my future best man—should Ariel ever accept my marriage proposal.   

What is in store for you in the future?

If Ariel accepts, I hope to live a lover’s life in the mountains with fresh flowers and a bird bath, and spend my days writing books until the cows come home.  If she doesn’t, I’m open to any and all suggestions.

~~~~

Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he’s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/or die a slow and painful death like someone in a scary scene in scary movie. Rene’s new and only friend tutors him in the art of playing it cool, but that’s not as easy as Gio makes it sound.

WSJ Does it Again

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Yet again Meghan Cox Gourdon has written in the WSJ about YA Literature… I had to take a few days to think of an appropriate response to this… I didn’t want to just start ranting and raving which I would have done two days ago… so here I go trying to not rant and rave (wish me luck!)

Meghan Gourdon still stands by her original editorial post, declaring YA Literature to be too dark and even “normalizing” suicide, rape, and self-mutilation.  My first question… is she really surprised about the reaction to her editorial? In a way she is demeaning YA Literature and the authors themselves who pour their soul into their works to share their experiences with others, just in the hope that they can reach 1 person out there.  To make my response to this much more clear (because I literally could go on forever about this) I broke it down into my responses of quotes taken directly from her new editorial. 

Authors Judy Blume and Libba Bray suggested that I was giving succor to book-banners. Author Lauren Myracle took the charge a stage further, accusing me of “formulating an argument not just against ‘dark’ YA [young-adult] books, but against the very act of reading itself.” The ALA, in a letter to The Journal, saw “danger” in my argument, saying that it “encourages a culture of fear around YA literature.”

I have to agree with Judy Blume and Libba Bray – it is articles like these that make parents “freak out” about what their children are reading, making them run to their local library, bookstore, publishers, to complain and demand such books be taken off the shelves.  FIRST OFF, if parents care about what their children are reading they should talk to their children/teen and read what they are reading.  Go to the library/bookstore with your child and pick out books with them.  Involvement goes a very long way! The parents need to be PROACTIVE – it is not the library’s job or others’ job to watch what your children are reading.  While Libraries are there to promote literature they are not babysisters.

[To ]many other parents, the young-adult category seems guided by a kind of grotesque fun-house sensibility, in which teenage turbulence is distorted, magnified and reflected back at young readers. 

I am first off offended by her use of words here…. “grotesque fun-house“.  To think of YA Literature as “fun houses” makes me think that such literature is a joke, that there is no truth to the words written down.  I couldn’t DISAGREE more.  Again, many authors are very selective about the words they use, plot lines they create and even their characters.  So much goes into writing any type of novel to begin with, let alone a “Dark” novel (as she calls them).  I don’t even know where to begin with this ‘belief’ that in YA literature the “teenage turbulence is distorted”….. Many authors write what they know.  Cheryl Rainfield is a perfect example of this.  Does this mean her literature, her experiences in her teens were “distorted”, thus ineffectual and unimportant, which could be taken even further… does this mean she’s overacted, lied, or herself unimportant as a human being? NO!

It is true that so-called problem novels may be helpful to children in anguished circumstances. The larger question is whether books about rape, incest, eating disorders and “cutting” (self-mutilation) help to normalize such behaviors for the vast majority of children who are merely living through the routine ordeals of adolescence.

Again, words here….. “so-called problem novels” – using a word phrase like ‘so-called’ implies falsehood of some sort.  Maybe it is just me, but if you are writing for the Wall Street Journal or any other Newspaper or outlet that reaches thousands of people, choose your words carefully.  Words are heavy, and mean many things to many people.  Words do not have a simple definition.  Hence the OED has many definitions for one word.  But I’m getting off topic here….

Normalizing… I have yet to come across a “so-called problem novel” that promoted “rape, incest, eating disorders and cutting” in any way to any degree, let alone promote it as “normal”! The characters AREN’T jumping up and down cheering happily about their “so-called problem[s]”.  In every “so-called problem novel” I have personally read the characters are anything but happy.  Their miserable, sad, hurting, in pain, and so are those surrounding them.  While there are people out there that do like drama, most people don’t want to be miserable, in pain, and hurt.  I don’t see how such novels make such issues “normal” and cool.

One thing I have seen in her editorials regarding “so-called problem novel[s]”, she lumps teenagers and children together.  Human beings are not all the same, especially Teenagers! We are all individuals and have individualist ideas, thoughts, experiences, and feelings.  We are not a “vast majority“.  Each experience should be looked individually, as the results are never the same for many reasons (context, emotions, thoughts, etc).  Thus they are ANYTHING BUT “routine ordeals of adolescence“.   I can’t go on responding to “routine ordeals of adolescence“…. that actually infuriates me, so I’ll stop there with that….

Well-intentioned messages, in other words, can have the unintended consequence of opening the door to expectations and behaviors that might otherwise remain closed.

Well… Yeah.  So can television shows, movies, music.  Just because someone writes about doing drugs doesn’t mean the “vast majority” are going to go out and do drugs themselves.  The whole purpose is to deter them from doing drugs.  I personally NEVER want to experience what Kristina goes through in Ellen Hopkins’ Crank. 

I also don’t believe that the vast majority of American teenagers live in anything like hell. Adolescence can be a turbulent time, but it doesn’t last forever and often—leaving aside the saddest cases—it feels more dramatic at the time than it will in retrospect.

How does she know? Has she does studies and reserach about what “the vast majority of American teenagers” have gone through? Again, we are all individuals, and how and what we define as “like hell” are different for each of us.  While adolescence doesn’t last forever, the affects and consequences of things we learned, experienced and went through in our adolescence affect our future, big and small.

Why leave the “saddest cases” aside?!?! That is what we are talking about it!!!  That is what these novels are aiming for, to reach out to those in the saddest cases; to offer support, love, understanding, knowledge, and hope!!

In Conclusion…

I am gravely offended by Gourdon’s editorials.  While her attempt is to shed light on concerns she has, which he has every right to do to, on YA Literature and the subjects they portray, she comes across as very one sided, unwilling to look at the other side.  Teenage years are full of emotion – while many things do feel ‘life and death’ and ‘end of the world’ and while many of these things are not as important when we become adults (i.e. does the boy next door like me? why can’t I have the name brand cloths?), there are MANY MANY issues that ARE ‘life and death’ and ‘end of the world’ for teens.  These are serious and to not be demeaned or ignored in any way.

One way to look at it, and this “Dark” literature…. people go to counselors to talk about their problems, to help anger issues, fears, sadness, possible future actions/consequences, etc.  Not everyone is emotionally capable to talk to someone else about this stuff.  Books that cover such “Dark” topics can be seen as a counselor, someone for a teen to cry to and share their experiences and troubles and thoughts with.  Such books can become BEST FRIENDS, a HAVEN, and literally save them.  Isn’t that what is important?  Such novels are not black and white but Gourdon presents them as such.

There goes my attempt to not rant and rave….

#YAsaves Giveaway Winners

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Thank you everyone for participating in my #YAsaves Giveaway
As you can guess the goal of this giveaway was to spread the word of “dark literature” as the WSJ would put it.  We can never forget the real voices out there that need to be heard.
So enough babbling on my part… Let’s on with the winners!!
1st Book Choice goes to Maria Smith who chose – CONFIRMED
2nd Book Choice goes to Joel who chose – CONFIRMED
3rd Book Choice goes to Kris @ Imaginary Reads, who chose – CONFIRMED
4th Book Choice goes to Michelle @ Sometimes You Win, who chose – CONFIRMED
And last but not least
5th Book Choice goes to Cheyenne @ The Hallow Cupboards, who chose – CONFIRMED
Thank you again for everyone who entered!
I have contacted all the winners and they have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
Happy Reading Everyone!

June In Review

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June was CRAZY! That is the only word I can come up for it (But I know July is going to be EXTREME CRAZY!) 
2 events in particular stick out the most:
#1 – #YAsaves – unfortunately articles such as the WSJ still exist, but on the brighter side, responses such as #YAsaves occur!!
* My 2cents on #YAsaves and My 2nd Response
* #YAsaves on Twitter – 6/7, 6/12, 6/19
#2 – Pottermore – this even really exhausted me… I woke up at 3 am to wait for J.K.’s announcement and of course couldn’t sleep the night before. But it was worth it!
Reviews Published in July:
* Shadow Dancer by Courtney Rene (6/1)

Other Posts of Interest:
Challenges Updates:
* 100 Books in 2011:  33/100
(this does not include children’s books which puts me over the 100 mark)
* YA Series Challenge:  19/12 – surpassed and still going strong

Review: The Watcher by Melinda Metz

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The Watcher (Roswell High #4) by Melinda Metz
Publisher:  Simon Spotlight Entertainment
Published:  February 1st 2000

Mass Market Paperback, 176 pages

Challenge:  100 Books in 2011, YA Series

Life will never be the same…

Max is dying. No one wants to believe it, but he knows it’s true. And as the end grows closer, he can only think of one thing: Who will protect Liz if he’s not here?

 
Liz can’t stand watching Max suffer. She’s determined to find some way — any way — to save him. But the only way to help Max is to risk her own life. Is she willing to die for the one she loves?

((Tiny spoilers, but nothing tooo dramatic or affecting!! – so this will be a really short review, or I’ll give away too much))  In The Seeker we are left with Max collapsing and Liz begging for him to stay alive (swoon).    The Roswell crew learns that Max is going through his species’ version of maturity: connecting to the consciousness, “ankino”.  If Max is not able to connect he will die, and it will only be a matter of time before Michael and Izzy face the same fate.  The mission is to find the stones that will allow him to connect.  However, these stones are inconveniently located on their ship, which they still have not found. 

Out of all the Roswell high installments so far, this one has the most action and conflict, and not excluding the relationships.  Liz is watching Max die.  At this point she doesn’t understand, even more so, why they should just remain friends.  Maria and Michael are much closer, and Maria makes a confession of epic proportion! Izzy and Alex are finally dating, even though Izzy still is reeling from Nickolas’ death. 

Without giving away too much, the Roswell crew comes the closest they ever have been to their ship!!  Again, this novel is told from each of the characters’ point of view.  By far this is the most exciting installment so far.  A must read for Roswell fans!!

My Rating:

Cover Revealed! Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

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Cynthia Hand also revealed the cover of her next installment of her Unearthly series…. Another gorgeous cover!

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

 Coming out January 24, 2012

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