HomeAbout MeArchivesBooks I CraveChallengesRating SystemPolicyContact

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Teens that read YA aren't as smart as those that read adult novels

I think the headline speaks for itself, but before I get jumped here, that is obviously not my opinion since most of what I read is YA. That seems to be the opinion of a "YA author" who recently wrote an article for NPR.

This article was brought to my (and many others) attention on Twitter by the lovely Heidi R. Kling, author of the much anticipated upcoming YA novel, Sea, a couple of nights ago. The author of this article, Garret Freymann-Weyr, seems to be under the impression that the genre of YA isn't intellectually challenging enough for teenagers and "Many young adult novels don't set the bar very high in their language, character complexity or emotional nuance, which is why I — a young adult author — like to encourage young readers to venture into the adult shelf." (Taken directly from the article).

Now, I personally have never read any of Mrs. Freymann-Weyr's books and for that reason, I will not judge or comment on what she has written, but it appears that she obviously hasn't read many YA novels over the past 10 years or so. Because if she had, she would have realized that the YA genre has evolved immensely with authors like Laurie Halse Anderson, Elizabeth Scott, John Green, Ellen Hopkins, and Jay Asher (just to name a few).

Mrs. Freymann-Weyr's article, which is titled "Three Books For The Smartest Teens You Know," listed three books that I've personally never heard of, much less read, and honestly if I saw them in the bookstore, I wouldn't pick them up. It seems that she has this idea that all YA books need to be these complex works that challenge the mind, and there's nothing wrong with that, but personally after reading so many serious novels, I need some fluff so I don't become depressed! Not all books need to be these complex stories, sometimes you need something light, fluffy, and unrealistic to balance things out.

I know in the comments, books like Twilight were being mentioned and even Twilight and that series has it's place in YA and has impacted lives. For many it got them to get into reading at all, and for some it's just a nice escape into another world and there's nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing wrong with stories that allow the reader to escape and to have this light story on their minds.

As you can tell, this article (I'll include the link below, and I urge you to go leave your thoughts) really got me worked up. I'm almost 21 years old, which I know some of the other YA bloggers are older, but I prefer YA. I've read YA novels that have more depth, development, and writing style than a lot of adult novels.

So I decided to put together a list here of just a few YA novels that set the bar pretty high, and have character development and emotion that rivals, if not exceeds many adult novels. And I urge you to leave me comments on what I've forgotten (I know I'll forget some), and on your own thoughts, as well as leaving your comments over on the NPR site about Mrs. Freymann-Weyr's article.

You can read the article here.

*My list:
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Willow by Julia Hoban
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
Crank; Glass; Burned; Impulse; Identical; Tricks (all) by Ellen Hopkins
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Nineteen Minutes; The Pact; My Sister's Keeper; The Tenth Circle (all) by Jodi Picoult
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
The Louder Than Words series
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

*Some of these I have not read, but I do know the impact they've had on others and feel they should be included.

Those are just SOME of the books that came to mind, and I know there are numerous others that belong on this list that I have forgotten and you can leave those in the comments if you would like.

I know this little rant of mine came a bit out of nowhere, but after reading that small article, I just got so worked up and then having to put off writing this for a couple of days just caused it to stew, but I think it was something that should be addressed. I would love to hear your thoughts as well.


Holiday Break Reading Challenge: Activity #7!

So I've actually kinda slacked off on my first reading challenge. (I fell, my sister got sick and had to go to the hospital, and last minute shopping have made reading impossible) But I am hoping to fix it this week.

And in getting back on track, this is Activity #7! The activity is to pick the best and worst book to movie adaptations you've seen. So here's mine. And I will explain a bit on why I picked both.

Best: Speak

Photobucket Photobucket

It wasn't a blockbuster or even a theater release, it was actually a Lifetime movie. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favorite books of all time, it's so beautiful and so powerful, and the movie captured the story so well. Kristen Stewart starred in it and despite her role in Twilight, her role as Melinda in Speak showed just how talented she really is. This is my favorite book to movie adaptation, and few have been able to capture the original story anywhere near as well as Speak managed to. If you're never seen it, I highly recommend picking it up. You won't regret it.

Worst: My Sister's Keeper

Photobucket Photobucket

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult is one of the few (and first) books to ever make me cry, and I don't just mean a few tears, I mean this book made me need Kleenex kind of cry. But the movie did not live up to the expectations the book had set. I couldn't buy into Cameron Diaz being a mother or portraying the type of role she did, and the fact that they changed the end, among so many other things, just made me annoyed and angry over anything else. This was one of those books that was tragically perfect, but the movie mostly made me annoyed and bored. I know there are some that loved the movie, but I would have preferred them to stick closer to the book and not try to make it so "Hollywood" like they did. This is not something I would ever willingly sit through again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In My Mailbox *23*

Created by The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea.

This week I only go one book, but that's fine with me because I am expecting a box of them any day now :) And since I only got one book, I'm going to do this weeks IMM the old fashioned way. Plus I fell a couple of hours ago and really hurt my foot and don't really feel up to getting the camera and everything to take a picture. Sorrys!

For review:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
(It's the 25th anniversary edition)

Esther, an A-student from Boston who has won a guest editorship on a national magazine, finds a bewildering new world at her feet. Her New York life is crowded with possibilities, so that the choice of future is overwhelming, but she can no longer retreat into the safety of her past. Deciding she wants to be a writer above all else, Esther is also struggling with the perennial problems of morality, behaviour and identity. In this compelling autobiographical novel, a milestone in contemporary literature, Sylvia Plath chronicles her teenage years - her disappointments, anger, depression and eventual breakdown and treatment - with stunning wit and devastating honesty.

That's what was in my mailbox, what did you get in yours?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge: Activity #1!

So today officially begins the Holiday Break Reading Challenge! The first activity in the challenge was to do something that I've seen over the blogosphere before, but never participated in, so this time I did!

The activity was to create your own Debut YA Cover and write a short synopsis! So here it is:


Eighteen-year-old Natalia has gone from one thing to the next, flying through life, not taking time to really get to know anyone or focus on anything outside of school, art, and the band she started with her best friend, until now.

When Bryce, a boy from Natalia's past, shows up as her new next door neighbor, it throws Natalia through a loop. Natalia and Bryce share a secret the could potentially destroy everything she's worked for. Now Natalia has to slow down and pause long enough to find out what Bryce is doing back, and what she needs to do to get him to keep the secret a secret.

Just know that I only I was only able to spend a few minutes to put it all together, and so I hope it sounds interesting enough. I'm feeling a bit uninspired today, but I do like the picture!

What do you guys think? And if you want more information about the challenge, check it out here!

Holiday Break Reading Challenge!

That's right! I've decided to join my FIRST! reading challenge! There's been numerous one's I've thought about joining, but wasn't sure if I'd have the time, the books, or the money to buy books if I needed, but this challenge is different!

Karin explains the rules much better than I can, so I'll post those now:

1) Anyone can participate. I'm focusing on teachers and students, but if you want to cram a little extra reading in during the holiday season, please join us.

2) The Reading Challenge is designed to be self-paced. I will ask for you to set a goal for the number of books you want to read, but if you don't reach the goal - no big deal. This is for fun.

3) You don't have to provide a list of books you plan to read in advance. You can, but it isn't required. My mood determines what I read so I usually don't stick to a list. If I can't do it, I don't want to force others to do it.

4) The Holiday Break Reading Challenge corresponds with my time off from school. So, it starts on Friday, December 18, 2009 and ends on Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 at Midnight.

5) I'll have a section set up on the blog for reviews. Please link your reviews of the books you complete during the challenge.

6) Everyday there a new "Challenge" will be posted. These "Challenges" are designed to help you get to know other bloggers, talk about what you are reading, and share information about books. A new Mr. Linky (if I can figure it out) will be used in each post to record everyone's responses.

7) HERE IS THE BIG ONE! At least one prize will be given out everyday during the Reading Challenge. This might be a book, a bookmark, or other swag. No specifics lined up yet.

8) Be sure to follow the Reading Challenge on Twitter. New challenges and prize information will be announced there, too.

9. Grab the button to put on your blog.

So I've not totally decided which books I'm going to read, since like many of us our mood reflects what we'd rather read, but I may come up with a partial list this week and I'll post it then =)

By the way, my goal is at least 5 books. But hopefully more :)

If you decide you want to sign up, then head on over to Holiday Break Reading Challenge and sign up!

Monday, December 14, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I received two books for review (Nanny Returns and The Real Real, both by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus), and the publisher was kind enough to send me an extra copy of each book to give away!

I was going to wait until I could get it reviewed, but I will be moving soon and would like to get them sent out to their future owners before I do. This contest is for a new paperback copy of The Real Real which comes out December 31, 2009! The contest for Nanny Returns will be posted with the review later in the week :)

Here's a little information about the book:

The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
HarperTeen Publishing

From Goodreads:

Imagine there was never a Laguna Beach, a Newport Harbor, the shimmering Hills. Imagine that your hometown—your school—is the first place XTV descends to set up cameras.

Now imagine they've trained them on you.

When Jesse O'Rourke gets picked for a "documentary" being filmed at her school in the Hamptons she's tempted to turn down the offer. But there's a tuition check attached to being on the show, and Jesse needs the cash so she can be the first in her family to attend college. All she has to do is trade her best friend for the glam clique she's studiously avoided, her privacy for a 24/7 mike, and her sense of right and wrong for "what sells on camera." . . . At least there's one bright spot in the train wreck that is her suddenly public senior year: Jesse's crush has also made the cast.

As the producers manipulate the lives of their "characters" to heighten the drama, and Us Weekly covers become a regular occurrence for Jesse, she must struggle to remember one thing: the difference between real and the real real.

1. Fill in the form below!
2. Open to US residents only. (Sorry!)
2. Contest ends December 28, 2009!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In My Mailbox *22*

Created by The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea.

This week was a pretty slow week, but I did get two books! So YAY! And I got back on track this week blog wise! So double YAY! I got the memes going again, and a review for The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove up (see here)! I also finally got that post about the Million Dollar Book Sale up, including a list of the books I got (see here)! I am also about to schedule a giveaway post for Monday! So make sure to come back Monday and enter!

For Review:
Windwhyst by Christine O'Neill
Candor by Pam Bachorz (for 1 ARC Tours)

NOTHING! Since we're about to move, I'm not allowed to buy anymore books. But I've found a way around that by winning them, and making my Christmas list mostly books :)

That's what was in my mailbox this week. What was in yours?

Book List! (Finally)

So I've been promising for like a month to post a list of the books I received at the Million Dollar Book Sale, and I have finally done it (with some help from my sister)! But first, I want to tell you a little about this book sale.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley has paired up with American Book Company to do a book sale a couple of times a year. The Boys & Girls Clubs is a fantastic organization that focuses on children and teens. They have facilities for kids to go after school during the school year and all day during the summer. They help teach different skills and help with homework, the have activities and fitness/sports, they give attention to the arts, life skills, health, leadership and character building, career development, and that's just some of what they help with. As a kid I went to one of the local clubs and it was one of the best times I had. American Book Company has decided to help them each year by sponsoring this event.

The event itself is basically a huge room filled with tables and boxes of books, and for $40 you can go through and fill the box with as many books as you can fit. The only catch is the flaps have to close! Either way the boxes can hold anywhere from 30+ books! I went this past February, I spent about 3 hours there and came home with about 40 or so books (you can see that list here), so when I went this time I knew I'd do well.

This time though, the building was about twice the size as the last one and aside from the ares of kids books had no real sense of organization, so me and my best friend who agreed to go as long as I let him get a few books, set out in search of whatever we might find. So onto what we did find!

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (paperback)
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (paperback) [Somewhere around here I have a copy of The Kite Runner, so I figured I should go ahead and get it]
  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham (hardcover)
  • Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block (hardcover)
  • Cathy’s Book by Sean Stewart/Jason Weisman (hardcover) [I thought I'd check the first two out before I decided if getting the third book was worth it, plus they didn't have it :P]
  • Cathy’s Key by Sean Stewart/Jason Weisman (hardcover)
  • Cheating at Solitaire by Ally Carter (paperback) [Never read one of her's before!]
  • Good Girls by Laura Ruby (hardcover) [I've read Play Me and I wanted to check out more of her stuff. Anyone read it?]
  • Heat of the Night by Emma Holly (paperback)
  • House of Dance by Beth Kephart (hardcover)
  • If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend by Alison Pace (paperback)
  • Likely Story by David Van Etten (hardcover) [He's a writer for One Life to Live, and I'm a sucker for it, so I had to check out at least the first book.]
  • Manhattan Noir: The Classics 2 by Various authors (paperback)
  • Marley and Me by John Grogan (hardcover) [It's also the Collectors one with the pretty cloth cover and ribbon bookmark, plus pictures of Marley. It's adorable!]
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (hardcover) [I bought a paperback way back when it first came out as one, and I loved it so much! So I just had to get the hardcover when I saw it!]
  • Playing by Melanie Abrams (paperback)
  • Pledged by Alexandra Robbins (paperback) [I actually got a hardcover of this last time, but I forgot!]
  • Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (hardcover)
  • Rumors: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen (hardcover) [I've got a paperback already, but my copy of The Luxe is in hardcover and I like to be consistent.]
  • Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman (hardcover)
  • The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip (paperback) [I have a couple of her books, and I've heard they're great, so we'll see!]
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (hardcover) [Another book that I have a paperback copy of already]
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (paperback)
  • The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance by Various Authors (paperback)
  • The Scent of Your Breath by Melissa P. (paperback)
  • Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde (paperback) [I have one of these Thursday novels already]
  • Undead and Uneasy by Mary Janice Davidson (hardcover)
  • Undead and Unpopular by Mary Janice Davidson (hardcover) [Last time I got one of these, so I'm collecting until I can get them all! So three down, five to go!]
  • Violet and Claire by Francesca Lia Block (paperback)

I also got three or four cook books (a couple of which were diabetic cookbooks, because my dad was diagnosed as diabetic a few months ago and so we're trying to come up with stuff. So if anyone has any recommendations or recipes they would like to share, I would greatly appreciate it!). I got this really cute Art of Belly Dancing thingy that has the little finger cymbals in it (I wanted those darn cymbals!). And my best friend ended up with five or six books.

So all in all, I did about the same, give or take a couple. Either way, $40 is a steal for all the books I got! Now if I can just get my review pile down to a reasonable level, I can read a few! So when that happens, any suggestions on where to start? If you've read any of them, what are your thoughts?

And by the way, some of these will be for giveaways down the line, and some were intentionally bought to be given away, so there's an incentive to giving me your thoughts!

And now I think I'm just babbling...so I'm done!


Friday, December 11, 2009

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
Release: November 12, 2009
Publisher: Razorbill
Category: YA-General
Overall: 4 Star

There are a few things that Natalie Hargrove wants out of her time at Palmetto High School, but the big one is becoming Palmetto Princess and her boyfriend, Mike, to be Palmetto Prince. And Natalie Hargrove will do anything she has to do to make sure this happens.

When Natalie finds that Mike is at major risk of losing the battle for the crown to the one person Natalie hates, Justin Balmer, we find out just what she will do to make sure that her dreams come true. But what’s the cost of fame within the high school setting? And what’s that cost when the person she’s battling is the one person who has the power to take her down?

Now, when I got this book I hadn’t actually read the synopsis about it, all I knew is it was Lauren Kate’s debut novel, I loved the cover, and I wanted to read it before I read Fallen (out now). But I’m glad. I was totally shocked and surprised at the twists and turns in The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove and I loved it!

It was a shocking and fun ride to take with Natalie, and let’s just say the ending shocked me even more. This is a very Cruel Intentions (1999 Reese Witherspoon/Ryan Phillippe/Sarah Michelle Gellar movie that was totally awesome, which ironically contained a character with the last name Hargrove) kind of story and that made it even more enjoyable.

The main thing I fault this novel for is that it seemed like some of the characters were just around to move the story along, and then once their job was done you didn’t really see them again, or they just got a side mention. But this being a quick read, I can understand why it was like that, so I don’t hold that too much against it.

It seems like with all the talk surrounding Fallen, that The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove has been lost in the shuffle or will be, but I hope that doesn’t happen. I really enjoyed Natalie, Mike, the Bambies, and even JB, and the journey they took me on, and I think other people will too. It’s a story of blackmail, desire, darkness, and deeds that are so dark it would make Nyx shiver.

Natalie messed with the Fates’ and you just don’t mess with the Fates’.

All in all, I say read it. It’s good, quick, and a nice escape for a couple of hours. Another plus that I don’t think I’ve mentioned is the fact that it has a totally sexy, dangerous cover, which fits well with what’s written on the pages within.

Plot:3 Star
Writing:4 Star
Characters:3 Star
Ending:4 Star
Cover:4 Star
I received this book as part of Around the World Tours.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Booking Through Thursday *6*

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme, that is mostly about books and reading! Find out more here!

Today's question is:

Do you think any current author is of the same caliber as Dickens, Austen, Bronte, or any of the classic authors? If so, who, and why do you think so? If not, why not? What books from this era might be read 100 years from now?

This is kind of a hard question and I think there are a few books that might end up on bookshelves and in hands 100 years from now, but for the most part I don't really think many books now have been to the caliber and degree that the Classics of our era have been. Jane Austen has been spun off of and continued on so many times that it's impossible to keep up. How many Mr. Darcy books do you see just in the book aisle at your local Walmart or Target? I know I saw at least 6 last week and those are just the ones that come to mind. I can't think of anything that would be continued on like that 100 years from now. There are a ton of fabulous books out there that I would hope 100 years from now will still be appreciated are adored, but realistically I don't know that they will.

What about you guys? You guys have any ideas?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday *17*

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a weekly look at upcoming releases that we're excited about!

Guess what? It's not a Tenner book this week! So HA! But it is by an author that I am dying to read. I've heard fantastic things about her previous novel, The Musician's Daughter, and I'm dying to read it as well, but this week's WoW post is about Anastasia's Secret. Which as you can tell by the title is about Anastasia, as is the Grand Duchess Anastasia
Nikolaevna of the Romanov family. And I have a slight fascination with Anastasia, so this tends to interest me very much. So anyways, onto the book!

Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap
Release: March 2, 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

From Susanne's website:
The youngest grand duchess in the Russian imperial family comes of age during the revolution. Her family is imprisoned, conditions become worse and worse.

But Anastasia has a secret that she keeps from her family, a love that endures through the horrors of war and the privation of imprisonment and deprivation.

Will her love save her from the fate her family seems destined for? Or is she a creation of a rarefied atmosphere, unable to survive without her loved ones?

Monday, December 7, 2009

In My Mailbox *21* (LATE)

Created by The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea.

This week I got one book, (which I have already managed to read, not I just need to get the review written!) so I didn't do a picture or anything, I just decided to got back to the old fashioned way :) And to be totally honest, I am exhausted from working today so it's just quick and lucky I even got it done, lol. I know that I've been slacking a bit the past week or so, and I really sorry about that. I've been working more this week because of the holidays and haven't really has a lot of free time at all. But I only work one more day this week so things should get better, and I have a couple more reviews coming up AND a couple of contests coming up, so keep an eye out for those!

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
Release: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse

From the back of the book:
Everyone knows the unwritten rule:
You don't like your best friend's boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect, except for two tiny details: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants to do is hurt her best friend. But when she is thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens between them. It's wonderful...and awful. Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday *16* (LATE)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a weekly look at upcoming releases that we're excited about!

Yes, it really is another Tenner book. I just can't help it, so you may as well get used to it, there is going to be a lot of them over the next few weeks, er months...but on with it...This is one of those stories that just sounds so heartbreakingly beautiful that it's got me itching to get my hands on it.

Dirty Little Secrets
by C.J.Omololu
Release Date: February 2, 2010
From Amazon:
Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.
With details that are as fascinating as they are disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy’s desperate attempt at normalcy. Her fear and isolation are palpable as readers are pulled down a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen’s life will have readers completely hooked.