Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where Have All The Boys Gone? Are They Dead With Mom and Dad?

Two YA hot topics have been buzzing around the Internet recently: boy books/why boys don't read YA, and dead parents in YA.

First, let's tackle the boy problem.  Hannah Moskowitz blogged about it at the end of July.  Her post stirred up a lot of discussion on the topic. 

A WSJ article by Thomas Spence (via Caren Estesen's Posterous) takes a look at raising boys who read.

And the blog Chasing Ray asks if boys will pick up a book with a bra on the cover.

Speaking personally, I agree with the simplicity of the post on Chasing Ray.  The book, THE SECOND BASE CLUB sounds like a fun, boy-oriented read.  Will a boy carry around a book with a bra on the cover?  Probably not. 

ETA: Here's an additional link from E.J. Wesley in the comments.

I don't know about you, but when I'm browsing in Borders, I don't see boys stalking the YA shelves like Edward Cullen stalking Bella.  I've yet to see ONE guy in the YA section.  There are boys in the MG section, but where are the YA boys?  They're in the non-fic section, snatching up sports books, history books, biographies.  They're in the fantasy, sci-fi, and horror sections.  They're reading adult books, not books with bras and sparkly McVamp Pants on the cover. 

Let's be honest.  Walk through the YA shelves and see what the covers say to you. I'm going as far as to say (in my non-official study) that 90% of the covers have girls on the covers looking longingly at a guy, or appearing all confused and EMO over some paranormal thing going on in her life.  (For the record, I love paranormal/Urban Fantasy) The books might be great, but if I were a teenage guy, I wouldn't go near the YA shelves on a bet with all the girly covers.  And the covers are doing their job, aren't they?  Reaching their target audience - TEEN GIRLS.  So, why are we surprised that boys aren't swarming the bookstores for YA books?

ETA: What do you think the E-Reader culture will do for boys reading YA - will it bring more boys to the books without displaying the covers as they carry their device around?
I think the dystopian covers already out in the world (Hunger Games for example), and those to come, (Divergent by Veronica Roth) might do a lot to bring boys back into the fold of YA.  Let's hope. 

On to another hot topic - dead parents in YA.  Lots of discussion going on about this as well.  The Publishers Weekly article, The Ol' Dead Dad Syndrome, sparked blog posts, such as this one by Nathan Bransford.

Why is it that so many parents in YA are dead?  Are YA authors channeling their inner Disney writers?  Because, seriously, why does the mom always bite it in the beginning of Disney movies?  Maybe it's the same reason YA authors do it - instant conflict and internal turmoil. 

The question seems to be: Is having a dead parent (or parents) lazy writing? 

The answer, in my opinion, is the same answer for any question about plot.  If it's done well, it's not lazy writing.  If it is done for a real reason that adds depth and dimension to the story, then it's not lazy writing.  If it's done to get Mom and Dad out of the way so Suzie can have Sam spend the night - it might be a tad lazy. 

It's impossible to lump all of the dead parent(s) in YA together and classify the authors as lazy writers taking the easy way out--or, the exact opposite, genius writers who explore the grieving process of young adults - you can't take this one out of context.  Each book has to stand on its own and rely on its own merit.  Just like anything else we write, it can work beautifully, or end up a hot mess. 

Give us your thoughts, and any other links relating to boys reading YA, or dead YA parents in the comments.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Guest Blogging Post

Today on our Guest Blog segment, we have the lovely Regan Leigh.

Why Adult Women Connect with Young Adult Books

It's been obvious for a while that young adult books don't just appeal to teens. Adults are often seen reading and discussing young adult books -- and it's not just adult YA writers. ;)

I was thinking about this recently in terms of why YA books specifically connect so well with adult women. Why do we want to read about teenage girls when so many of us would never want to return to that confusing and sometimes painful period in our lives? What do adult women get out of teen angst and high school settings and how do they relate to teen girls today? Better yet, what do we -- the collective adult female writers -- feel we can share with today's teens? I'll list a few answers that came to mind for me.

- Why do we want to read about teenage girls?

1) We've been there. We know what girls that age are experiencing, which makes it easier to connect with the main character and root for them from the beginning.

2) It's always fun to read from a perspective of a character that does things far differently than we did as a teen. It's like reliving that age and testing new limits without actually having to do it ourselves.

3) Escapism. Have adult responsibilities you need to take care of? Bah. Take a break for an hour and go back to a time where there were no bills, taxes, jobs, or crying children. (At least not our own. ;))

- What do adult women get out of teen angst and high school settings and how do they relate to teen girls today?

1) Water cooler, anyone? Work settings are often just an older version of a high school situation. Cliques are formed, outfits picked apart, and friend building hierarchies can even effect your promotions and job status. (Well, I personally don't work in this type of setting, but I have many friends that do.) We still know what it's like to get THE look from another woman, sizing us up with their eyes in a way that makes us self-conscious or angry.

2) Sometimes we actually -- gasp -- enjoyed that time period of our life. Reading YA can bring back funny or bittersweet moments in seconds. The associations can be almost as insightful as a high school reunion. But more enjoyable. ;)

3) What do we have in common with teen girls today? Acne. Periods. Fights with friends. Family stress. (Um, I could go on. Sorry you younger gals, but those things still exist past 18. ;))

- Better yet, what can we -- the collective adult female writers -- share with today's teens?

*I think these answers are very individual for each writer, but I'll give my two cents.*

1) Hope. :D There is life after the crazy and exhausting teen years and there are so many things young girls have to look forward to.

2) A positive female example. I'm not a writer who insists books have to teach a lesson, but be cognizant of the example you may be giving without even realizing it. And why not try and create a character or situation that can inspire or strengthen?

3) Understanding. The biggest help you can give anyone is to show a willingness and desire to know and understand them. Be authentic and real in your writing. Show the reader you care about their lives and struggles. Show them you get it and that they aren't alone.

So what do you think? Care to weigh in on these thoughts I've been having while dodging my work in progress edits? ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flashback Friday: Banned Books Week

Welcome to Week Twenty-One of Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. This week we're discussing banned books for Banned Books Week.

Catcher in the Rye, The Diary of Anne Frank, Of Mice and Men, The Wizard of Oz, Forever...all of these are banned books. What are your favorite or treasured banned books? Want to know if yours is on a banned or challenged list? Then check out ALA'S list.

The most treasured banned book for me has to be To Kill a Mockingbird. My first experience with TKAM came in 8th grade when I first read the novel. Sure, I didn't gain the literary appreciation for it then, but I do remember loving the characters, feeling the
injustice of what happened to Tom Robinson, and sympathizing with Boo Radley. I also remember the culminating project I did: a Southern cookbook filled with TKAM inspired recipes(I'll admit
my Grammy, a master of Southern cooking, helped me a bit!)

The next time I read TKAM was in my second undergrad when I was adding a teaching degree to my English degree. It was then that I truly grasped the full mastery that is the book.

I got to teach TKAM for the first time the following year. I remember feeling the responsibility of covering not only all the
beautiful figurative language, the themes, etc, but to truly convey the character's triumphs and tragedies. I taught TKAM for five years. The first year I moved up to high school, I was saddened to not be teaching it anymore. I haven't read it in awhile, and I plan on rereading it soon.
Each time I do, I find some other literary gem within its pages or some turn of a phrase that I, as a writer, marvel at. The film adaptation, though considerably different, stands alone in its mastery. The very final scene of "Neighbors bring food and flowers with death...." has me weeping every time, especially since it is adult Scout reflecting back, and you realize when she thinks of Atticus, he is probably deceased, and of Boo Radley(I'm seriously choking up right now!)!!!!

When I started out writing, I began with a Southern Literary Fiction--very much inspir
ed by TKAM as well as Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe and Cold Sassy Tree. I have a Southern YA Historical that's itching to be written....not sure when it will happen though.

So, want to support Banned Books week besides buying or reading banned books? How about sporting some Banned Books jewelry? I have the Banned Books Bracelet myself!

Cafe Press has some awesome Banned Books posters for sale.

Or you can go to ABFFE or the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression for some downloadable posters.

Now it's your turn. Tell us what your favorite Banned Book is and why?
*Congrats to Sammi for winning Gotya's copy of Speak. Email to redeem it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boy Books

So I read, a lot.

And generally, this is split into two categories non-fiction that makes me a better person and that I should read more of, and fiction that makes me a happier person, but I probably read too much of - an opened book is a finished book. And then I can't help but open another book.

Still, when people I know ask me about good MG/YA books for boys, I've only got a handful of authors to recommend, and they're all almost all fantasy.

They are (alphabetically)

Cinda Williams Cima
Eoin Colfer
John Flanagan
James Herriot (though, he probably requires the attention span of an older reader)
Brandon Mull
Christopher Paolini
Sarah Prineas
Rick Rearden
Johann David Wyss

Now tell me, who am I missing?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Guest Blogging bows to Speak Loudly for Laurie Halse Anderson and Speak

It's time to Speak Loudly for Speak!!!

We interrupt our usual Monday Guest Blogging broadcast, er, post, to bring you an Epic Guest Blogging event. Unless you were off twitter, blogs, social media, or in a hole yesterday, you might have missed how Laurie Halse Anderson's wonderful book, Speak, is being challenged as "pornographic". Yes, I know it's absurd, but unfortunately, this absurd and completely warped voice has been the one spouting hate and intolerance in the press. That's why the Young Adult literary community as well as writers everywhere need to stand up and refuse book banning and censorship as well as regulating rape to some pornographic, highly sexual event, which is most certainly NOT!

So, today I leave you with the link where you can find blogs in defense of Laurie Halse Anderson and Speak. The very awesomeness that is Reclusive Bibliophile made an expansive list.

However, the one that touched me deeply, had me weeping was CJ Redwine's brave and courageous post about being a rape survivor and what books like Speak mean to those who have experienced it.

And Lindsey Roth Culli had a great open letter to Dr. citing her faith and backing up her argument with scripture from the Bible. TAKE THAT!

The very fabulous Myra McEntire had courage enough to post about how much her faith means to her, how hard it is to be a writer and a Christian sometimes, and how issues like this get her really riled.

And I also blogged about being a Christian, having the pleasure of teaching Speak last year, meeting Laurie Halse Anderson at ALA, and how not all Christians are intolerant book banning haters.

************GotYA wants to support Speak returning to the BestSeller's List. We will be giving away a copy on Flashback Friday. All you have to do is comment today, and you'll be entered. *******

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flashback Fridays: Um, Yeah......

Welcome to Week Twenty of Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. This week we're....uh, yeah, we're uh,....CRAP!!!!!

Yeah, so explaining about being once again postless makes me feel like the scene in Blues Brothers when Jake is aruging about why he didn't call his ex-fiancee. He says, "I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT!"

I could ramble about having the cold from hell, 130 essays to grade, a word count deadline from my agent, a massive Southern cooking overload on know, EPIC excuses. So, I'll just shut up and leave you with some Flashback Friday RANDOMNESS!!!

Can we just say how much I LOVED the game Clue growing up? I also watched the movie with Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, and Martin Mull probably 9million times! It's epic!!

Who doesn't love an allusion to West Side Story? And srsly, doesn't YA literature need more epic dance scenes?

Couldn't resist some Twilight fun!!!

NEXT WEEK: Ron Burgundy from Anchorman spouts wisdom on the writing game!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To agent or not to agent

Last night I found out that one of the writers I've done beta work for is about to make an announcement. This writer has a book deal with a major publishing house and she achieved it without an agent. She did go the prescribed road of write, revise, send to betas, revise, betas, query, agent revisions, query etc. None of the agents made an offer.

I won't get into too many details because I'm a little afraid I may be stepping over the line by posting about this and don't ask me who it is; I can keep a secret.

So after finding out about this last night I did a lot of thinking. I've always said I wouldn't want to go this route. I want an agent who knows the ways around the publishing world. In a way, I also think it has do with having an "expert" tell me what needs to change in my book and when it's ready to send out. But thinking on it last night, I realized that I don't have a finished project that I'm so sure about that I would go the non-agent route.

When I beta read this person's work I fell in love with the story and told her she would definitely sell this one. Am I bowing to my awesomeness? Absolutely not. I've said that to several people and they're still not sold, although I honestly cannot understand why!

I want your thoughts on the agent route and if you would consider bypassing, why? I've decided if I have a project I love so much; I may actually change my mind.

And you must, must, must go
here and see this awesome cover and make plans to buy this book! It is freakin' fantastic!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Guest Blogging Monday: Jill Wheeler and Wow aka World of Warcraft

Today is the inaugral post of our new Monday Guest Blogging segment. We have the lovely Jill Wheeler as our guest blogger. Jill is a YA writer repped by Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary.

The first time I played WoW, I completely lost. I rolled an undead warlock (Azarelia) with blue hair, saggy boobs and spent hours hours wandering around Brill, randomly pushing buttons and hoping that would be enough to kill the giant spiders and wolves that roamed the land. My brother gave me one gold, and I thought I was the richest person in the world. I bought all the crappy green gear from the local merchants, not knowing there was an auction hall with much better stuff for more reasonable prices.

That paragraph probably didn't make sense to you if you've never played WoW, but that's okay because that's how I felt at the time--totally clueless.

I was much the same way the first time I tried NaNoWriMo in 2007. Though I had a pretty good premise in mind(well, a kind of generic premise if you count how many stories are out now with dead protagonists), I had no idea how to begin. My story began with the alarm clock going off and my main character getting ready for school. Yes, you guess it---she looked in the mirror as she got ready, which gave me time to describe her physical appearance.

The book didn't get much better after that. I had no idea how to craft a story, which scenes to skip, how to work in necessary details by slipping them in like medicine with the meat. I skipped around, choosing the best scenes to work on, figuring I'd go back later and bridge the gaps. I wrote endless snore-worthy scenes about characters making sandwiches, one that even my mother couldn't make sense of.

The thing that kept me going, though, was the word count function. Just as WoW addicted me with the constant progression toward the next level, my word count kept building to the magic 50K point. What I didn't know what that, by simply grinding my way to the next level, I was doing very little to develop my skill. In WoW, I was able to reach level 80 simply by repeatedly killing the same pathetic dinosaurs. Similarly with my novel, I was able to reach the 50K point, write a quick ending, and proclaim my done-ness. Whee! I wrote a novel!

Yes, I wrote a novel. And I'd write more novels, very quickly, some that actually kept people turning the pages to find out what happened next. But just because I reached the designated end point didn't mean I was finished. I read articles about revising and learned to print off my stuff, read it aloud, and slash words and paragraphs that didn't sound right.

What I didn't learn was that every story needs to be revised differently. Reading my novel out loud and slashing confusing sentences wouldn't more fully develop character and theme. And it wouldnt' strengthen the mystery element by making sure the clues all built toward a logical but unforseen conclusion.

In WoW, you have to play with a group to get the full experience. Everyone plays a role, whether it's a tank, healter, or DPS. And then, you all descend into the dungeon together, to stand strong against the boss. My beta readers and agent have become my team members in this novel writing business. They point out the weak areas in my manuscript, enabling me to improve my story 1000%. (Thank you, Sarah, and my lovely, lovely beta readers! I love you!)

As I complete my final pass of SLIDE, I envision myself loading my manuscript up with the best, fully enhanced gear I have. The challenge of submission will be the highest level i've reached yet, but I have the faith in my team. Together we can achieve anything.

Thank you so much, Jill, for taking the time to blog with us!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flashback Friday: Everything Emo I Learned From Eponine: A Les Miserables Tribute

Welcome to Week Nineteen of Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. This week we're flashing back to my experience with the musical Les Miserables and how Eponine brings the Emo!

Flashback to March, 1997... the moment of truth. After grueling auditions for Les Miserables at my high school, I inched forward outside the theater windows, desperate to see the cast list. I’d belted out I Dream a Dreamed the best I ever could. Would I get the part of Fantine? All the dreams of seeing my name in lights I'd harbored since I wowed audiences as Auntie Em in Buffington Elementary School's production of The Wizard of Oz hinged on this moment....

My name wasn't there.


Losing out on the part induced epic emoness....for awhile. Theater had been one of those Godfather type activities for me in high school: just when I thought I was out, it drew me back in. I'd kinda given up on doing much until I took a drama elective senior year, and BAM, the drive was back!
Fortunately, I did get to see Les Miserables live at the fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta, and during my teaching career, I have used the song lyrics to I Dreamed a Dreamed to help teach poetic devices and figurative language. And from time to time, I might belt out I Dream a Dream at home where only my dogs and cats can have their ears offended!

But at the moment, I wanted to examine the character of Eponine and how she brings the Emo and could easily transport from the French Revolution to a modern day YA novel.

(1). Emo brought on by The Absent or Negligent Parents
A YA cliche seems to be absent parents or parents who are oblivious to what is going on with their children. Charlie sleeps tight each night not ever imagining Edward Cullen is upstairs getting his stalk on with Bella. In Les Mis, Eponine has got some epically craptastic parents. Sure, they might have one of the best musical numbers with Masters of the House, but the Thenardier's are not good people. They are money hungry opportunists who are more than willing to sell Cosette, their ward, away, and they’re the first ones on the battlefield ready to strip the Revolution corpses of valuables.

(2). The Love Triangle
Les Mis brings the love triangle, and it wouldn't be a YA these days without a love triangle, right? I say that with all due reference since I have love triangles myself. Here's the abridged version that sounds kinda like Adam Sandler's rendition of Love Stinks in The Wedding Singer: Eponine loves Marius. But Marius loves Cosette. Cosette loves Marius, and Eponine is basically screwed. It's the true, "You Belong to Me" Taylor Swift scenario since Marius only sees Eponine as a friend and even has her play errand girl to find out about Cosette. FAIL! Yeah, and *spoiler alert* the only time Eponine really gets some huggy, huggy, "Oh, I love you time" from Marius is when she's dying from a bullet wound. *Cue the music to A Little Fall of Rain*

Eponine's great "I love him, he doesn't love me, my life sucks" musical number is On My Own. Here's some of the great lyrics.

And now I'm all alone again, no where to go no one to turn to,
without a hope without a friend without a face to say hello too.
And now the night is near, and I can make believe he's here.

Sometimes I walk alone at night when everybody else is sleeping.
I think of him, and then I'm happy with the company I'm keeping.
The city goes to bed, and I can live inside my head.

On my own pretending he's beside me.
All alone, I walk with him till morning.
Without him, I feel his arms around me.
And when I lose my way, I close my eyes, and he has found me.

(3). Using the Emoness for a good cause aka Teenage Rebellion
Regardless of her emoness, Eponine does have a moral compass despite her unfortunate lineage. And in true teenage form, she rebels against her parents' less than noble deeds to do the right thing.
So what are other musicals that have great YA potential?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Who Do You Love? Or, Reader Obligation.

Write the story you love.

Don't write to the trends.

All that matters is that it's done well.

As writers, we hear these three phrases quite a lot, don't you agree?  All three, sound advice.  BUT.  And there's always a but...what if you have written what you love, not written to a trend, and even written it well, but your critique partners/agents/editors (depending upon where you are in your journey), are just not in love with the story?  Maybe they're not even in like with your story.  *GULP*


"But, but, but," you say, "WHY?  This is the story I LURV.  I've written it well.  I didn't chase a trend.  It's different.  It's unique."

"I don't like it.  Do it differently," CP/A/E says.  "The way you have Lord of the Tree People getting pulled up by the roots is going to frustrate readers.  It frustrated me."

"But, but, but...It's the story I wanted to tell.  Lord of the Tree People HAS TO be pulled up by the roots."  *Stomps Foot*

So, who do you owe here?  Are you obligated to yourself to tell YOUR story YOUR way?  Or, are you obligated to tell a story that your readers (CP/A/E) wants to hear? 

I'll throw out my opinion and ask for yours in the comments:  Personally, I feel if you're writing to get published, you leave your ego at the door.  Embrace being as flexible as you can and write what the people want from your story.  Many times, it only makes it stronger. 

Happy writing,


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fall into GotYA

Crisp, cool air, football games, colorful leaves--all are signs of fall, my favorite season. With that said, we're hoping you'll really fall into reading GotYA with the seasons changing. And we're planning some things to get you here and reading! :)

First of all, congrats to Hannah for winning the Nightshade arc. Thanks to all of you for tweeting and following us. We really appreciate your support. :)

Second, we have some sad news at GotYA. Veronica Roth and Kathleen Peacock have bid adieu to GotYA due to time constraints with their upcoming releases. We wish them all the best, and we can't wait to read Divergent and Hemlock when they come out. Good luck gals!

NOW, here comes the exciting news. We're totally stoked and pumped to add 3 teen bloggers to the GotYA family. They are Amna M, Rachael K, and Vahini Naidoo. We're looking forward to getting a teen's point of view on the writing game and the industry as well. You can learn more about them in the "About Us" section.

We're also thrilled about our new Monday Guest Blogging Spot. Each and every Monday a new voice in YA will be blogging with us. Here's some of the fantastic peeps we've got on the scedule for the next few months!

Medeia Sharif, Dawn Miller, Corrine Jackson, Sumayyah Daud, Sarah Inni, Miranda Kennealy, Rebecca Sutton, Tracy Martin, Julie Duck, EM Koki, Kara Mustafa, Jill Wheeler, Rachele Alpine, Kathy Bradey, Stephanie Jenkins, Rebecca Rogers, Amanda Sage, Chanelle Gray.

We're especially excited about author interviews with Elizabeth Scott, Claudia Gabel, Kody Keplinger, Janice Hardy, Helene Boudreau and Hilary Wagner.

So, keep GotYA on your "TBR" pile of blog posts because we've got some exciting stuff coming up!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Flashback Friday: Ricky Bobby Helps with Revisions and Writer's Block

Welcome to Week Nineteen of Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. This week we're looking back on revising and writer's block with a little help from Ricky Bobby.

Before I get to the post, I'd like to semi-apologize to my undergrad and grad professors for this "Ricky Bobby analogy post". While they emphasized the importance of teaching through film and using visual texts to reach students, I'm not sure they ever meant for me to reach this far!! Sure, I've stretched my analogies before with past posts on Querying Through the Movies and Beta Readers and Lord of the Rings. So, maybeI'll redeem myself more next week with my Les Miserables Flashback Friday: Everything Emo I Learned From Eponine!

(1). I wake up in the morning, and I piss excellence!
I think we'd all like to suffer from this delusion of grandeur. How awesome would if each and every time we sat down in front of our computers or took up our laptops, the words just magically flowed? And not only did they flow, but they were words of literary excellence!! Yeah, not very often. The very eloquent and awesome Cindy Pon always says, "You're allowed to write utter poo!" And a lot of the time, it's poo, rather than excellence, that's flowing, but it's okay.

(2). If you can drive with a cougar in the car, you can race!

After periods of hellish revisions or agonizing writer's block, you can get a little gun-shy. Opening up your manuscript and staring at the blinking cursor can induce nausea or hysterics. But like Ricky and the cougar, you got tame the wild beast that is insecurity and get back in the saddle!

(3). Shake and Bake! That Just Happened!

I like to equate “shake and bake” moments to when I turn to my betas, critique partners, and/or anyone who will stand still long enough to listen for HELP!! Be it a new WIP, outlining(er, for those of you who outline), or revisions, sometimes you’re just stumped, and you need help. It’s that other pair of eyes, or several eyes, that help you see your way. Ricky and Cal had their special “slingshot” move to get Ricky to victory. For writer’s, critique partners can help you to do your own victory lap.

(4). I'm All Jacked Up on the Mountain Dew....And I'll Come at You Like a Spider Monkey!
Doing intense revisions or knocking out some wordage calls for sustenance. Coffee, chocolate, carbs, whatever your brand of heroin is, it can take epic amounts to get you though. However, you may want to back off when the caffeine or carb overload sends you into a partial “roid rage” and you're coming at family and friends like a spider monkey. The writing game is a tough one, and we can all go a little crazy sometimes. It's important to step back and take a breather.

If you just can't get enough of Talladega Nights, then check out Shake N Bake Store where you can get a "I'm All Jacked Up On Mountain Dew" t-shirt, or "Shake N Bake This" underwear!

****Arcs of August Update***

The winner of Nighshade will be announced tomorrow morning!!! Good luck!!!

And be sure to check back on Monday for some exciting GotYA updates and news!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5-Minute Book Club

Our book club pick this month is Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells. We're only doing this to watch you writhe in agony at the approaching fall. Sorry! (Not really)

What it's about: (Booklist) "While spending summer vacation with her family at her cousins’ fancy beach house in the Hamptons, Mia, 16, wants to join the popular crowd. Instead, she feels like the “frumpy relative”; in fact, even her own mother is a class snob who thinks Mia isn’t slim enough to be part of the “in” set. Then she bonds with gorgeous Simon, the boy next door, and they meet secretly at night on the beach, drink vodka, and skinny-dip in the wild ocean waves."

This is what we have to say:

Annie: This novel was like summer wrapped into a book. There’s nothing like a good love story that takes place on the beach, because the ocean provides the perfect back drop for romance, especially secret night-time ones. The main character, Mia, is the perfect balance of sweet and bold, while Simon, the love interest, is totally swoonable. The style of first person really jolts the reader into the story, which I love. I enjoyed this novel by Amanda Howells, and if you like Young Adult contemporary romance, you will too.

Krista: The cover and title immediately drew me in--especially since it's summer, and I'd just been to the beach. I really loved Mia's character, and her voice was spot on. You'll root for her as she deals with some Mean Girls in the book. And the character of Simon was awesome! I'd love to find a man like him intelligent, well-read, doesn't care what people think, funny guy who you could be yourself around. The chemistry and scenes between him and Mia were great.
There are some interesting twists and turns in the story. So be prepared! 
Jamie: SoSD is a walk on the beach in the moonlight with waves lapping at your feet, and a new crush at your side. My favorite part of SoSD is Simon, the hero. He's like no other hero I've read in a YA book. He's quirky, confident, vulnerable, and easy to fall for. The descriptions are deep and beautiful. I felt like I was there in the Hamptons with Mia.

Debra: Summer of Skinny Dipping wasn't exactly what I expected. I was imagining a fluffy, light summer romance. Instead, the book deals with some serious themes, from drug use to abuse. The author created a strong, admirable MC in Mia, who, except for a few slips, is true to herself and doesn't bow to peer pressure, despite being tossed in to her cousins' world of superficiality and over-indulgence. Simon is one of the more fascinating and unusual love interests I've had the pleasure of reading in YA lately. This book definitely entertained me, though I was thrown a bit by the ending.
Readers who enjoy Sarah Dessen with a little less HEA will probably love this novel. 
Melissa, Guest Blogger of Awesomeness: This story was bittersweet. My favorite part of the story is the setting—the beach. Add to it a first love and I’m definitely on board. Mia is a great character who goes from self-conscious to self-assured. She learns that people aren’t always who they appear to be. Overall, it’s a good read with a sad ending.

Sarah: The Summer of Skinny Dipping made me crave summer cocktails, sand, salt, and sexy artists named Simon. What a wild summer Mia braved.

Love Triangles: Why Do We Love Them?

Okay, so I've been thinking a lot lately about love triangles. I'll admit, I'm guilty of googling books before I read them, searching out spicy love trifectas. There's just something about two boys fighting for the love of a girl that makes me melt. For me, this crazy obsession started when I was about eleven, back when I couldn't get enough of the Saved By the Bell war for Kelley. Both guys were totally hot, in their own way, and both really cared about Kelly. I just couldn't choose. LOL

 From Team Edward or Jacob and the saucy love triangle in the Hunger Games Trilogy, creating teams is now the cool thing to do. My question is: Why do we love them so much? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Are you still down for more stories with them or are you gonna go on a book burning binge if you see one more? Comment below and weigh in.

(PS. Shameless plug time: Win Paranormalcy over at my personal blog: Reading, Writing and Waiting)