Review: Easy by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

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Easy by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (June 30th 2008)
Hardcover, 176 pages
Source: Own
Challenge: YA Saves, Stand Alone

Easy. At the ripe young age of fourteen Jessica has discovered that getting the attention she wants is just that — easy. It’s not the attention of a divorced mother who spends all of her time grieving over a broken marriage. Nor is it that of a father with a new girlfriend who’s moving on with his life. It’s certainly not the attention of a clueless older sister or a best friend since grade school who still acts like she’s in grade school. No. For some reason being noticed by her friends and family seems to have become almost impossible. Boys — and men — are a different matter altogether. With the right clothes and attitude, Jessica realizes that she can get all the male attention she wants. What she doesn’t realize is how easy it is to get more than you’re ready for.
In this compelling and often harrowing novel for teen readers, first-time author Kerry Cohen Hoffmann delves into the mind of a teenage girl as she attempts to replace the shifting relationships with friends and family with sexual exploration. With candid storytelling rooted in years of personal experience, Mrs. Hoffmann offers a searing look at how easy it is to take a wrong turn in search for the right answers.

 

After her parent’s divorce, Jessica is dying for attention… she quickly finds that one of the easiest ways to get attention happens to be from boys.  Jessica’s mother has turned inward, her father is now living with the woman that helped break their marriage apart, her sister has become their mother’s shoulder to cry on, and Jessica… well she is left to her own devices.  While at first her ‘flirtation’ in her need for attention is innocent, Jessica finds herself becoming more adventurous.  But Kerry Hoffmann’s debut novel is not just about a young teenager looking for attention in the wrong places – Kerry also explores the rippling affects of divorce, growing up, and the introduction of sex.

“He hoots as he passes. Another one whistles. I know this is stupid, inviting trouble. But it feels so good to be wanted, I can’t help myself.” 

The attention Jessica gets from boys soon becomes like an addiction, leaving her craving for more.  That is until she starts to see the consequences of her actions.  She finds herself more and more isolated, despite her found attention, from her family and even her best friend.  Jessica starts to gain a reputation at school – one that many may not necessarily dream of.  Then there is the big “V” card… Jessica finds out how special it really is…

“Everyone says your first time should be magical. You should be in love. You should feel safe. Because you can’t go back once you’ve done it. That will always be your first time. Years later this is what I’ll remember as my first time. That inflated sensation is long gone. Now I just feel nauseous; it is the feeling I get when reality dawns.”

Kerry Hoffmann’s debut novel is a fresh read, exploring the reality of the teenage mind without holding back any gritty details.  While Kerry’s honesty may be too much for some, I found the truth in Jessica’s actions to be a mirror of reality – something that is not done enough. At the same time, Kerry has found the perfect balance of reality of hopefulness, neither going to dark or too light.  I cannot go without mentioning her writing, as it flows with ease, making Easy an ‘easy’ (no pun intended) yet enjoyable read.

Find Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

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Author Chat: Mette Ivie Harrison

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For those that have not been reading YA literature you might not have heard of an author named Mette Ivie Harrison – but seriously people… if you haven’t heard of her you’ve been living under a rock! But all jokes aside, I am very honoured to have Mette Harrison as part of our 2012 YA Saves Reading Challenge for February’s focus.

One of the most well known classical romantic stories is that of Tristan and Isolde.  Mette Harrison’s release of Tris & Izzie is a retelling of this complex yet romantic story.  I am very excited to share with you the opportunity I had to ask Mette more about her own retelling, her writing and what she has planed next!

Tristan and Isolde‘ is a beautiful story.  How is your retelling of ‘Tristan and Isolde‘ different from the original?

Well, it was tricky to do a story about adultery, essentially, set in high school, where the characters aren’t married. Then there is the whole question of the torturous love triangle. I love romance, but love triangles are rarely done well, and I enjoyed poking a little fun at the whole idea of a woman who can’t decide which hot guy she *really* loves the most. I put in a lot of tiny details that very few people will get, since I used as my foundation the 1100 AD version in Middle High German, which not many people have access to. The black sails at the end, for example, and some of the names, like Gurmun the serpent, are from that version.

If you made a potion for your best friend like Izzie, what would it be and what would you want the outcome to be? Or do you think it would go wonky?

Oh, magic always goes off in its own direction, doesn’t it? That’s one of the great lessons of life, that you have control of something or someone only for so long, and then you have to let go and see what happens, have confidence in yourself and enjoy. I did have a best friend in high school who was in love with the wrong guy and I kept trying to get her to ask other guys out. One of the guys I set her up with was my brother. We were supposed to go on a double date together, but I got sick and ended up nearly overdosing on aspirin, trying to keep up my promise to double with her. Later, we gave up trying to find her dates and she just hung out with me and my boyfriend as a weird threesome.

You’ve written a lot of books about princesses… what draws you to writing about such characters?

Princesses are just what happens to sell. I have probably 50 other completed novels about completely different characters, but they don’t get published for whatever reason. It’s hard as an author to figure out why it is that people seem to connect with only one kind of writing. I don’t think I have the answer to that. It might be because I grew up on a farm in central New Jersey or because I loved to read Robin Hood and fairy tales and Shakespeare in elementary school and have a flavor for an old-fashioned language. It might be because I do princesses with a twist that people really like. Who knows?

 It’s always a shame when well written books cannot be published because of what is what is no popular at the moment. Hopefully we will see those book on the shelves one day.
Let’s pretend you didn’t write Tris & Izzie… what would you say to someone in recommending this book?

It’s a light, humorous retelling that is the perfect antidote to those tired of the never ending stream of dystopians and paranormal romances.  

Can you give us any hints about any new YA (or non-YA) projects you may be currently working on or just finished?

 I am currently working on Two Princesses (title not yet certain) about two princesses from opposing kingdoms who meet and become friends. They have to then make decisions in which their friendship and the welfare of their kingdoms are pitted against each other. It’s sort of like Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I retold with magic. I used to love reading about that historical time period in England and read a lot more about it researching for this novel (which will hopefully turn into a trilogy).


Find Mette Ivie Harrison

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Author Chat with Emily Franklin

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I am very pleased to welcome Emily Franklin, as our first author to be interviewed for the 2012 YA Saves Reading Challenge, hosted by myself and Andrea at The Busy Bibliophile.

Emily Franklin is most known for her Principles of Love series, which [what the series is about] as well as for her most recent novel Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, published last year and receiving rav reviews.

The first installment of her successful The Pricnipcles of Love series demands you pick it up all within the first line of the synopsis is: “The Gilmore Girls meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Who didn’t love The Gilmore Girls & The Sisterhood.  I know I sure did, and still do!

What was your inspiration for The Principle of Love series and for Love Bukowski’s characters?

I went to boarding school and hadn’t written about the experience before, So I wanted to explore that.  Plus, I love the idea of having your father literally over your shoulder while you’re trying to just be a regular teenager.

Having a father as your principle must make it really hard for Love to form love interests and crushes.  How does Love deal with this? Its not like she can sneak out, living on the campus grounds…

Well, maybe not in the 1st book! But later on.. I think that Love, like all teenagers, has to deal with how much input her dad has in her day to day life.  She does manage to find love, though perhaps not where or how she thought.  Plus, her dad is still so wounded by the mystery of Love’s mother that Love has to figure that out, too.

Does Love’s namesake bring her luck in her endeavors?

I’m not sure she’d agreed with that! Love wants LOVE just like all of us desire it – she just has to sort out who, where, and when.  Simple, right? 

When you are writing about love in any way, what do you use for inspiration?

It’s pretty easy to recall the longing I had in 10th grade or at age 22 so I can draw on my own feelings.  Also, I listen to music as a form of time travel and that helps, too.  I’m so happy in my own marriage, but I never thought I’d find the kind of love I have now, so that in itself is pretty inspirational.

What are currently some of your favorite “love” themed books (they don’t necessarily have to be young adult)?

Well, I have to give a plug to my next book which is all about love and friendship.  TESS MASTERSON WILL GO TO PROM is a brave story and I wrote it with Brendan Halpin.  We also wrote THE HALF-LIFE OF PLANETS, which is an unlikely love story about a girl with a past and a boy with Asperger’s.

Lastly, what is your favorite thing about February?

I could say hot chocolate with marshmallows, warm boots, my awesomely puffy duvet cover, or laughing while sledding.  Or I could just say at least it’s short!

Emily Franklin has written many YA novels!
Here are just a few:
 Don’t miss out on Emily Franklin’s new book: Tess Masterson Will Go To Prom, coming out March 2012!
Lucas and Tessa’s friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Midwestern town. So it’s no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas also feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him.
What’s worse is Tessa’s decision to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom.
Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin tackle both sides of a ripped-from-the headlines story to show that true friendship will triumph after all.
You can find Emily Franklin on her WebsiteTwitter | Facebook

YA Saves Reading Challenge – February

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February is the month of love, so it only makes sense to focus on love… but there are many different types of love, sides of love, and even outcomes of love.  Every week myself and Andrea from The Busy Bibliophile will be highlighting books that we feel are perfect reads for February.  Our first week is an introduction week, so to speak, to love; followed by one aspect of love that many have on their mind… Sex.  There are many outcomes of love, giving us our focus for our 3rd week: Teen Pregnancy.  Let’s admit it… focusing on sex and teen pregnancy can both be hard subjects for anyone to read about (let alone thing/talk about).  But what would the YA Saves Reading Challenge be without focusing on such issues.  However, we wanted to end the month on much lighter notes…

Our last two weeks of February, while informative, are all about the fun of love! With the popularity of Paranormal YA Novels its a no brainer to take a closer look at Paranormal Love.  But we can’t forget about the gooey and gushy, pitter patter of our hearts that we have when falling in love for the first time and/or as teens.  Ending our month we will be reliving it all!



Schedule for February

1st -Introduction (Patricia’s Particularity & The Busy Bibliophile)
3rdInterview with Emily Franklin
4th – Interview & Giveaway with Lynn Weingarten  
      – Interview & Book Excerpt with Mette Ivie Harrison
5th – YA Saves Sunday: Sex
6th – Interview with Nikki Burnham
7th – Review, “Easy” by Kerry Cohen Hoffman
9th – Guest Post with Kerry Cohen Hoffman
10th – Review, “Giving Up The V” by Serena Robar
        – Review, “Sticky Fingers” by Nikki Burnham
11th – Interview & Giveaway with Serena Robar
12th – Review, “Someone Like You” by Sarah Dessen
        – YA Saves Sunday: Teen Pregnancy
13th – Interview & Giveaway with Darlene Ryan
15th – Interview with Sara Zarr
16th – Review, “What Kind of Love?” by Sheila Cole
18th – Interview & Giveaway with Holly Cupala
19th – YA Saves Sunday: Paranormal Love
20th – Book Excerpt & Giveaway with Mary Lindsey
21st – Book Excerpt with Abbi Glines
23rd – Guest Post with Cat Hellisen 
        – Book Excerpt & Giveaway with RaShelle Workman
24th – Review, “Exiled” by RaShelle Workman
25th – Interview & Giveaway with Kelly Creagh
26th – Review, “Leaving Paradise” by Simone Elkles
        – YA Saves Sunday: Love
         – Interview & Book Excerpt with Miranda Kenneally
27th – Interview with Huntley Fitzpatrick
        – Guest Post with Rae Hachton
28th – Review, “Love & Leftovers” by Sarah Tregay
        – Review, “After the Kiss” by Terra McVoy
29th – Interview & Giveaway with Sarah Tregay
        – Interview & Giveaway with Terra McVoy

Link up your 2012 YA Saves Reading Challenge Reviews

for February

** This is not the Sing Up Page **

To Sign up for this challenge go HERE

Remember to link up the direct URL of your Review and not your site URL


YA Saves Reading Challenge UPDATES

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Guess what!? I have a wonderful new Co-Host to the YA Saves Reading Challenge.  You might have seen you around the Blogsphere… her name is Andrea and she is the creator of the amazing blog 
We have been working hard this past week in creating a fun yet informative Challenge for everyone.  Having a new co-host means new buttons!

You can sign up at either site and link up your reviews on either site.
Again I am very excited about the new updates… speaking of we have 1 more update:
A Twitter Hashtag for everyone to use
#yasaveschallenge
Why use this hashtag? To share your reviews & to participate in the many giveaways we will be having!!
Make sure to keep an eye out for many new and exciting posts soon to come!!

YA Saves Reading Challenge on GoodReads

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Guess what?!  The 2012 YA Saves Reading Challenge is now on GoodReads.  You can join the group and sign up for your Challenge Tracker!  Just go HERE to sing up through GoodReads and to get your own Tracker!  Don’t forget to sign up on the main page HERE as well 🙂 

Post Your Reviews: YA Saves Reding Challenge – January

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Link up your 2012 YA Saves Reading Challenge Reviews
for January
** This is not the Sing Up Page **
To Sign up for this challenge go HERE
Remember to link up the direct URL of your Review and not your site URL
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