Friday, December 31, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Best Titles of 2010

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Best Titles of 2010

So, I couldn't narrow it down to five so I am choosing ten (even though there are so many others I could have put on this list, ahh). If you've been following my previous FIVE challenge posts, I'm sure you already know most of what's showing up on this list, but I'm making it anyway:

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - My absolute favorite of the year. It has one of the most realistic romances I've ever read, is funny, and is positively lovely. Plus, it's set in Paris. You can't go wrong with this one.

2. Sea by Heidi R. Kling - This book made my heart soar and then ripped it out (in the best way possible). When I wasn't busy swooning over the beautiful romance, I was dazzled by the Indonesian setting and heartbroken over the ending.

3. Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler - This book first made me sad and frustrated but ultimately made me happy and hopeful. It has one of the best representations of family I've seen in a while.

4. Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart - I am quite sure this the last book of Ruby Oliver's adventures, and even though I'm so sad to see her go, this book has left her in a good place. I will miss reading her new adventures, but I'm so happy knowing she'll survive. :')

5. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - This book manages to be nonstop fun and yet have beautiful, insightful moments and an adorable romance.

6. Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers - If Sea ripped my heart out, Fall For Anything stomped on it until there was almost nothing left. This is such a fabulous book that it's worth the emotional drain.

7. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales - Basically, this book is my life, plus a prep school setting and many, many moments of hilarity.

8. Grace by Elizabeth Scott - A tragic, intense, haunting read that has a huge impact minus its short length.

9. The Iron Fey series (The Iron King, The Iron Daughter) by Julie Kagawa - The only paranormal titles to appear on this almost-purely contemporary list. This books are such fun, full of action and adventure and awesome mythical creatures.

10. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers - I just now realized that this book came out in January! I am used to Courtney Summers books coming out in late December, but this one technically came out January 5, so it counts for this list, even though I read it late last December. But whatever, it's so amazing that it's being included.

Bonus! Two books that didn't come out in 2010, but are on my favorites of the year list anyway:

1. How They Met (and Other Stories) by David Levithan - Some stories are sad, some happy, some adorable, but each is beautifully written, like all Levithan novels are, and amazing enough for me to read over and over again.

2. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner - Gianna and I would have totally been BFFLs in middle school because we both procrastinate like whoa, among other reasons. This book is such fun but perfectly interweaves some bigger, deeper themes into the story.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Appeal of Dystopian YA

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an article discussing the appeal of dystopian YA literature. YA authors such as Maggie Stiefvater and Scott Westerfeld, as well as some other authors and supposedly knowledgeable people, contributed pieces to the article. However, as author Sarah Ockler pointed out on twitter, the article lacks an opinion from an actual teen reader, which is strange since the article is mainly analyzes teens and why dystopian novels appeal to them. Once Sarah started discussing the article on twitter, I remembered that I am an actual teenager, so I thought I'd attempt to respond to their question:
What's behind the dystopian trend in novels for teenagers, and why is there so much demand for it?
Although each author in the discussion talked about one appealing part of dystopian novels, I feel like there is no one answer, no one reason why they are hugely popular, and it would be silly to discuss only one aspect of their appeal. Therefore, I will attempt to discuss a few main reasons why they appeal to teens. Or at least why they appeal to me personally.

I thought that all of the contributors to the original article brought up excellent points. I definitely agree with Scott Westerfeld's piece, in which he discusses the appeal of the "system breakdown." I particularly like the questions he posed near the end:
What is the apocalypse but an everlasting snow day? An excuse to tear up all those college applications, which suddenly aren’t going to determine the rest of your life?
Being a high schooler nearing the second semester of my junior year, I will soon be forced to take the SAT, look at colleges, and choose where and how I am going to spend my life after high school is over. I've been told since before high school even began that it's of utmost importance that I work hard and get straight As so that I can get into the best college possible and, basically, not fail at life. So, that's what I've been doing since high school began. I've taken all the honors and AP classes available* and worked my butt off, like many of my peers have. There are nights where I've gotten no sleep, days off where I've done nothing but sit at the computer and write papers, and classes where my classmates and I do nothing but sit and complain and nearly cry about incompetent teachers, our insane workload, and how much sleep we didn't get last night. There are definitely times when I'm doing history reports or studying hours upon hours for biology that the worlds of Uglies or The Hunger Games or Matched sound really, really good. I mean, no AP biology? Or AP system in general? That sounds like heaven right now. (This also relates to escapism, I suppose, which Maggie Stiefvater discusses in her piece.)

One thing that I feel none of the articles expanded upon is that, often, dystopian novels show us what we like, what we do, or what we want, and discusses them until we realize that maybe we should rethink our values. They take something relevant to teens** and take it even further. Two examples of books that give us what we want are Uglies and Matched. Uglies gives us such extreme beauty so that no one has to feel self-conscious again, and Matched gives us our perfect soul mate so that we need not worry about love and relationships ever again. However, both these seemingly nice things turn out to really suck. Both romance and looks are largely relevant in any teen's life that seeing it reflected and discussed at length in a novel is automatically intriguing, especially since both novels show why we should not go too crazy. Or, the books take something relevant or familiar and expand upon it or present it in a new way, such as The Hunger Games does with violence and reality TV, or the upcoming Bumped seems like it will do with pregnancy.

This kind of goes along with what author Paolo Bacigalupi mentions in his piece:
With "Ship Breaker," a novel set in a future when oil has run out and New Orleans has drowned under rising sea levels, I was trying to illuminate the sort of world that we adults are handing off to them...Quality of life is significantly reduced from our present circumstances, and judging from teenagers' responses, they crave precisely that sort of truth-telling.

Unfortunately, the truth of the world around us is changing, and so the literature is morphing to reflect it. Teens want to read something that isn't a lie; we adults wish we could put our heads under the blankets and hide from the scary story we're writing for our kids.
I especially like the line "I was trying to illuminate the sort of world that we adults are handing off to them" because I feel as if that could have been a whole other discussion point in the article. Most, if not all, dystopian novels present a vision of the future that totally stinks. Even though these visions are purely the imagination of the author, it's not too hard to imagine them actually happening, as I suppose is the case with the novel Shipbreaker, mentioned in the quote. (I have not read Shipbreaker so I cannot say that for sure, but it is on my list of things to read.) The teens of today, myself included, are constantly told "you are the future, you will have jobs that no generation before you has had, blah blah blah" so it seems like the world is essentially in our hands. And I don't think I want to inherit or help create the worlds of The Hunger Games or Uglies because, even though they are free of AP bio, they don't seem very pleasant.

Since this post is already insanely long, I will only add one more thing to my argument: dystopian YA is appealing to teenagers because the teens in those novels are usually the ones doing the work. They get away with rebelling. Tally and her friends are the main challengers in Uglies, Katniss in The Hunger Games, etc. The teens in those stories actually get a chance to overcome those who don't let them speak; they can challenge the system. If I tried challenging one of my teachers, for example, I would get my butt kicked all the way to detention. Even though my generation is always told we are the future, we will change things, we don't often get a say in things until we're adults. I mean, not even a teen gets a say in the original article, and teens are who it is primarily discusses.

I don't think I really answered the NYT's question with this post, but, hey, I don't think the original contributors did either. I ended up hating this post halfway through writing it, but I spent a lot of time on it so I didn't want it to go to waste. Feel free to dissect this post, edit it because I got sick of editing, or add your own reasons or opinions on the original article in the comments.

*Except for Spanish because, even after five and a half years of taking it, I can still only discuss fruits and vegetables.
**Or anyone, really, but we are discussing teens here so I thought I would use that word instead.

[On a slightly unrelated note: Sarah Ockler is conducting a survey related to this article for a write-up of her own, so if you are between the ages of 10 and 18, go take the survey!]

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Great YA Bloggers

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Great YA Bloggers

Eee, this is a hard one. I follow so many great blogs, so it was hard to narrow it down, but here are the first that came to mind:

1. Jordyn of Ten Cent Notes.

I love Jordyn and her blog, and not only because I am her clone. Her reviews are always awesome and her discussions posts are always funny and thoughtful. Plus, she is an awesome writer, both of blog posts and books.

2. Steph of Steph Su Reads.

Steph has one of the most fantastically written blogs out there and I actually make an effort to read all her posts because of how lovely they are. I am super jealous of her review writing skillz. She also has fabulous discussions and totally awesome lists, and lists are one of my favorite things.

3. Person whose name I do not know of That Cover Girl.

This is a fun inclusion on the list-- at least for me-- because I am 99% sure I've never spoken to the person behind this blog. I talk to Jordyn all the time and tweet with Steph Su, but I've never talked to this person! I don't even know her name! But I still love her blog. Talking covers is also one of my favorite things, and I don't do it that often, but I like reading others' thoughts on them. Especially on bad covers.

4. Adele of Persnickety Snark.

Adele is the originator of this challenge, so it may seem a bit...odd for me to include her on my list, but I love her and her blog so much so adding her is essential. I love her reviews because they are well-written and have a distinctive style. I can always tell when Adele writes a post without needing to look at the title of blog in my reader. And, like Jordyn and Steph, her discussions are fantastic.

5. Mrs. Yan Funk of Books By Their Cover

I had plenty of people I could have put at number five on my list, but I gave it to YanYan because I'm amazed at her ability to post hilarious reviews even though she has more school work than I do. HOW DOES SHE DO IT? One day I will find out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Great Author Moments

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments

I love this theme.

1. That one time I met Hilary Duff. I love Lizzie McGuire and I listened to her first CD so many times as a child, so I was (embarrassingly) excited to meet her at her signing for Elixir. It was a long line, but it was fun and I got a picture with her, so it was worth it:

(What are my hands doing in this photo? What is this, second grade?)

2. Kiersten White's launch party for Paranormalcy. I never posted about it (why?!) but it was so fun! Kiersten is hilarious and adorable and it's always fun to see her. I got a shiny copy of Paranormalcy signed, and I got to hang out and talk books with Chloe.

3. The weekend where I saw John Green and David Levithan at their Will Grayson, Will Grayson event and went to the LA Times Festival of books, where I saw Cherry Cheva, Meg Cabot, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Alexa Young, and so many other cool people. John and David are both hilarious, so their event was obviously enjoyable. I also got to hang out with the aforementioned Kiersten White and Jordyn from Ten Cent Notes at that signing, and they are super cool.

Meg Cabot's talk at the book fest was also a blast, because she is so funny and pretty. And I loved being able to see so many awesome authors at the LAYAPALOOZA game later that day.

4. The OC Children's Book Festival, where I got to see Heidi R. Kling, Amber Benson, Robin Benway, and many other fabulous authors. My experience was definitely heightened because I got to spend the day with my buddita Catt! Catt is always a great person to have with you at book events, because she is hilario and crazy in the best way possible.

(Catt, Heidi R. Kling, and myself.)

5. And, of course, Book Expo America. This event was fantastic because I got to meet many of my blogger and internet friends, as well as many authors. There were so many that I can't even begin to list them all, so you can just read my first and second posts on the subject.

Although, I will say that I am STILL mad that Erica of The Book Cellar and I FORGOT to get a photo with The Alex Bracken, author of Brightly Woven, after we spent like 15 minutes the first day looking for her. At least we have the ~memories.

My picture with Tim Gunn almost makes up for it:


It was very difficult to pick only five events, because I went to so many other great ones! Like Smart Chicks; Comic-Con; the weekend where I saw Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Heidi R. Kling, and Jennifer Cervantes; and when I met the Pretty Little Liars cast.

Monday, December 27, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Great YA Movie Deals

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Great YA Movie Deals

Because I am totally terrible at keeping up with movie deal news, I think I'm just going to go with "5 Great YA Book to Screen Happenings" for today.

1. Lily Collins cast as Clary in the adaptation City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I actually really like her, looks-wise, for Clary. Not sure if she can act, but I actually think she looks good for the part. I'm excited to see this series hit the screen, because, if done right, it should be great.

2. The first half of season one of Pretty Little Liars, based on the books by Sara Shepard, on ABC Family. I absolutely love the book series, so I was excited to see how the TV show turned out. I really like it! They've stayed pretty faithful to the books but have switched a few things up to keep things fresh. I'm excited to see what the second half of the season brings!

3. Dakota Fanning will not be playing Mia in the adaptation of If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I'm sure everyone disagrees with me on this, but thank goodness. I don't know why, but I just don't like Dakota Fanning. I'm sure she's a lovely person, but...I just don't like her. Besides, I don't think she would have made a good Mia. Is Mia's appearance described in the book? I always picture her as a slightly-crazy-haired brunette but everyone keeps throwing out blond actresses as suggestions for her role.

4. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan was optioned for film. YAY! I love this book. I also loved the Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist movie, also based on a book by Cohn and Levithan, so I'm hoping that this book would also make an awesome movie if actually adapted. It could be hilarious.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, and it was awesome. This totally counts, right? Whatever, it was so great that it's staying on the list. I may have literally said "WHYYYYYY?" when the movie ended at That Part.

And I'd just like to say thanks to Sarah at Green Bean Teen Queen for having her YA Movie News feature! I used her posts to find links to some of the aforementioned movie happenings.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Hopes for YA in 2011

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Hopes for YA in 2011

Ooh, this is a fun one.

1. BRING ON THE FUNNY! I absolutely love when books include humor, whether that be the main focus or just an addition to everything else. I've read so many melodramatic books this year, which is extremely obnoxious. I love reading humor much, much more, especially when it counteracts some of the drama. (Georgia Nicolson, I'm looking at you. But I still love you.)

2. I wan a paranormal romance that doesn't suck. I want a book that will take all of the familiar paranormal story lines, especially love triangles, and make them AWESOME. And without melodrama, because I feel like paranormal is especially guilty of treading into that territory.

3. Well-developed love interests. I've read countless stories with love interests, or even boyfriends, whose defining trait are their good looks or their ~mysterious past. I would prefer a personality, please.

4. No more love that is too fast-- I absolutely hate it when two characters claim they are "so in luuuurve" after only knowing each other for like two weeks. No. Just no.

5. I'd like some weird or crazy books, a la Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves. Those are often the most enjoyable to read because of how insane, original, and thought-provoking they are. More, please.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Most Anticipated

First: happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate! Please enjoy this festive tune:


The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Most Anticipated 2011 Titles

Dude, this one was so hard! There are so many fabulous looking 2011 books, but I have settled on five. Descriptions and such from goodreads:

1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - The companion novel to my absolute favorite of the year, Anna and the French Kiss. I NEED more Stephanie Perkins books in my life and the wait for this one will be painful. (Released September 29.)

2. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma - The cover for this one is absolutely stunning, and the description is fantastic as well. Death! Secrets! Sisters! (Released June 14.)

3. Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris - I am always up for a zombie book, especially when they involve some humor, like I anticipate this book will. This one sounds like it could be one of the best zombie books I've read. (Released July 12.)

4. Wither by Lauren DeStefano - I've heard nothing but praise for this book-- almost every single one of my goodreads friends who have read it have given it five stars, even the toughest critics, like Steph Su. It sounds like an original and intense read, and I think I will like it. If not, I'm blaming all my goodreads friends. (Released March 22.)

5. Luminous by Dawn Metcalf - I feel like I've been waiting for this book to be released FOREVER. I just want to read it already! The summary is one of the most unique I've read. I can't wait to see how all the Flow and powers work. I anticipate some weird-ness, and weird is the best. (Released July 7.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Great ReReads

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Great ReReads

This is a fun category because I adore rereading! I don't get to do it that often because of all the unread books I have, but I love when I get a chance to.

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Favorite of the year, amazing, perfection, etc. I'm sure you're all sick of me talking about it, so I'll just stop. You can check the Stephanie Perkins tag for more of my (detailed) fangirl-ing.

2. Sea by Heidi R. Kling - I reread Sea before I wrote my review back in the summer, and I loved it just as much as I did the first time. And it made me cry both times. Yeah.

3. The Ruby Oliver series (The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, Real Live Boyfriends) - I reread the first three books before getting to Real Live Boyfriends and got to rediscover how fabulous each of these books are. Ruby is one of my most beloved narrators. She's funny and witty and smart even though there are many times where I wish I could knock some sense into her.

4. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling - I require a reread of all seven books at least once a year because they're Harry Potter, duh. I'm always amazed at the new things I discover, even though I've read each of the books multiple times.

5. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - I can't even count how many times I have read this book. It's the book I always return to when I am mad or sad or, really, any time. Even though this book is TOTALLY DEPRESSING it always manages to make me happy. In fact, writing this has made me want to go pick it up again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Great Series

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's theme: 5 Great Series

I assume this mean any series that had a title come out in 2010, so here we go. Titles that came out this year are in parentheses.

In no particular order:

1. The Iron Fey series (The Iron King and The Iron Daughter) by Julie Kagawa - This series contains SO MUCH AWESOME. I like how even though there is a great romantic storyline, there is still plenty of action and fighting to keep my inner bloodthirsty side happy. I am dying to read the third book, The Iron Queen, which comes out next year.

2. The Vampire Academy series (Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice) by Richelle Mead - If you've read this series, you know why I included it on the list. I may have had a few problems with the last few books in the series, but I still love them. Rose, the main character, is so fierce and the twist on the normal vampire myth is simply awesome.

3. The Ruby Oliver series (Real Live Boyfriends) by E. Lockhart - I love this series and Ruby SO MUCH. The fourth book comes out in a few days but a lovely person lent me his advanced copy a few months ago. It was so good. SO GOOD! There are so many things I loved about it, but the main thing was that now I am assured that Ruby is going to be ok. I think this is the last of her adventures, but she grew so much in this installment that I know she'll survive in the future. SHE'S GOING TO BE OK, GUYS. :')

4. The Paisley Hanover series (Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells) by Cameron Tuttle - Paisley is so UNbelievably hilarious that I can't help but love her. Her drama may be a little ridiculous but it's also insanely enjoyable to read about. She has a way of making everything exciting and interesting, which makes me super happy.

5. The Naughty List series (The Naughty List and So Many Boys) by Suzanne Young - These books are so stinkin' cute! They're funny without being insane and action-packed without being overly dramatic. They also have spies. What more could you want? Oh, yeah, the third book in the series, A Good Boy is Hard to Find. I am dying for it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Great Covers

First: Yesterday, I wrote a list of my favorite contemporary fiction of the year over at the fabulous Steph Su Reads! You can read that, if you are not yet sick of me talking about Anna and the French Kiss.

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category.

Today's category: 5 Great Covers

This one was a bit difficult because most of the covers that come to mind as "great covers" are ones for 2011 books, like the cover of Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

But, I came up with five, and here they are:

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

I think this cover is hilarious. Normally yellow covers do not work for me but this one just fits the book so perfectly. And come on, how can you not love the doll?

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

I haven't read this book yet (oops) but I can still appreciate this cover. I love the atmosphere and the colors especially, but I also love the juxtaposition of the stroller and the pointy things.

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Are words even necessary? It's just so pretty!

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

So the heart in the sign is a little cheesy, but no matter! This cover is so cute and makes me want to curl up in a blanket.

Sea by Heidi R. Kling

Blue is my favorite color, so I am a bit partial in choosing this. I love the different shades of blue and the design and the circle of light at the top and just everything about this cover. So pretty!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FIVE Challenge: 5 Great Debuts

The FIVE Challenge was started by the lovely and talented Adele over at Persnickety Snark. Each day, Adele gives a category and challenge participants post their 5 favorites of the year for that category. I'm not sure if I'll participate in EVERY challenge, but today I definitely am!

Today's theme: 5 Great Debuts

In no particular order, my favorites from 2010 debut authors:

1. Sea by Heidi R. Kling - Oh, this book is so lovely. It's sad but hopeful and well-written and emotional and totally worthy of my tears. I gave my friend a copy for Christmas, and she's already read it. We were discussing it yesterday and just talking about it makes me want to reread it.

2. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales - This book is what I wish my biography would be like, even though Violet's life has its very unfortunate moments. I already have to deal with the same junior year craziness as Violet, but I wish I had someone as hilarious as her to write about it.

3. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - This book is so much fun! It has crazy creatures and fighting and talking cats and so much more. I love the action scenes, but I also love the hilarious dialogue and romance, even though I think Ash is TOTALLY LAME. Puck forever.

4. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves - I read this book back in January and yet when I think about all the books I read this year, it's one of the first I remember. This book is nine kinds of crazy, in the best way. I don't think I fully understand it, but that's part of what keeps drawing me back to it. That, and it's unique creatures and unforgettable narrator.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Favorite of the year! I can't even explain why I love this one so much. It's so romantic and lovely and has the most amazing setting and just ♥ ♥ ♥. And it has ST. CLAIR. There is really nothing else you need.

I'm rereading and annotating it now and discovering so many new amazing things. I love it even more than I did the first time I read it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sometimes I think.

Now that I have time do things other than homework, I've been able to think and catch up on blog stuff. Here are some of the things I've thought of in that time:

1. If my counting is correct, I currently have 281 book reviews on my blog. THAT IS SO MANY. And yet, none of those reviews are for books whose titles begin with a Q, V, or X. I'm thinking I should make it a goal to find books with those letters. Q and X may be difficult, but how do I not have a V book yet?

2. Thirty-seven of my reviews are for books whose titles begin with the letter S (excluding the word "the"). That's the most out of any letter. I tried to find a pattern in there somewhere, but there are actually many different words that begin with the letter S that are used. There are more than a few "Sister ___" and "Some___ _____" books though.

3. I am marking up my copy of Anna and the French Kiss and OMG it is so fun. I have a bunch of highlighters designated for certain things and am also writing in the margins. I didn't think I would enjoy annotating THAT much, but it is so enjoyable! I am noticing all sorts of new things about the book and having a lovely time doing so. Maybe I just have warped idea of fun. Either way, I need to do this annotating thing more often because even though it takes a while, it is quite awesome.

4. Someone asked me or mentioned my use of "Khy" on my blog instead of my real name and I totally forgot half the story of why I use it. The main reason is that I had used a fake name on all other previous internet sites before that, but the second reason is that the only two YA review blogs I read before I made my own had writers who used fake names. I'm pretty sure my 13 year old self thought it was like, a thing. By the time I found other blogs with writers who used NORMAL NAMES, I had already made my own. And I was too lazy to change things. YEP.

5. I'm out of thoughts but lists of four are so ugly, so I'm adding this off topic one here. Um...hi?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Descriptions and such from goodreads!

I got a few things for review this week, all of which I am excited to read.

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow

Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be obedient to her mother and to be a straight-A student so that she can go to Med school. But is being a doctor what she wants? It has never even occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires until she accidentally winds up in speech class and finds herself with a hidden talent. Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her? Set in the 1980s.

--- This book definitely sounds intriguing, but I'm not sure if I can handle reading about someone stressed about school since that was me all last semester. I think I'll have to wait a bit to read this one. Now that I am on break, I am attempting to avoid all mentions of school and school stress for as long as I can.

Drought by Pam Bachorz

Ruby Prosser dreams of escaping the Congregation and the early-nineteenth century lifestyle that’s been practiced since the community was first enslaved.

She plots to escape the vicious Darwin West, his cruel Overseers, and the daily struggle to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive and gives Darwin his wealth and power. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient that makes the Water special: her blood.

So she stays.

But when Ruby meets Ford, the new Overseer who seems barely older than herself, her desire for freedom is too strong. He’s sympathetic, irresistible, forbidden—and her only access to the modern world. Escape with Ford would be so simple, but can Ruby risk the terrible price, dooming the only world she’s ever known?

--- No matter how many dystopian or dystopian-esque books I read, I'm always up for reading another. I can't wait to see how the world in this book is set up.

I also received a copy of The Lost Saint by Bree Despain, but I shall not post the summary because it is ~spoiler-y.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

(More) Thoughts on titles

Earlier this year, I posted about titles. I think that titles often get overshadowed by, well, everything else about a book, but I really like looking titles and such, so I am doing a sort-of follow up to that post.

So, here are some random title-y thoughts:

- Going through my goodreads page, I am noticing many one word titles. On the first page of my "read" books, I have: Spray, Inconvenient, Storyteller, Grace, Mockingjay, Plus, and others. I kind of like the one word title thing, especially for books that are more on the ~emotional side, like Inconvenient, or books with a more powerful story, like Grace. They don't need all those extra words.

- On the other hand, I also have many really long titles on my goodreads page: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares; The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z; God is in the Pancakes; The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June; I Now Pronounce You Someone Else; Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells; The Forest of Hands and Teeth; and so many others. Most of these are contemporary novels (no vampires or anything like that), so I think the long title works. They are more fun and paranormal books are generally not fun. I just hate typing all that out, ugh.

- Books with embarassing titles make me mad. Prime example: Anna and the French Kiss. I lovelovelovelovelove the book, but that title has probably put off SO MANY PEOPLE. It makes it sound like a cheesy, lame rom-com, when it is anything but that.

- The reworkings of Jane Austen titles are getting old now. Also, the reworkings of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice for the opening line of books.

- And this has more to do with covers, but what is up with this title font trend recently:

Why is this GIANT FONT thing so popular recently? I have seen it EVERYWHERE-- not just on book covers. I think it works well for Jane and Dust City but for Violence 101 it is too much and the yellow on The DUFF is

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

[description from goodreads]

From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes a gripping story about one girl’s search for clues into the mysterious death of her father.

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Cullen seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?


Upon finishing Fall for Anything, I (obviously) took to twitter to share my thoughts. Here are some of my reactionary tweets:

Obviously, I loved it.

I begin each Courtney Summers book with excitement and trepidation. I love being able to read a new Summers book, but I'm always terrified that I won't like it. And I don't know why I think that, because all of her writing is spectacular; Fall for Anything is definitely not an exception. It doesn't have the same school setting or the snarky, harsh protagonists of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are, but it's definitely of the same high quality.

I have read dozens of books about dealing with the death of a loved one, but none have had the emotional intensity of this book. I lost track of how many times this book almost made me cry. Eddie's grief and obsession and anxiety are described so well that I felt everything she felt. I wanted to know what happened to her dad just as badly as she did. I felt as conflicted about Best Friend Milo and His Ex Missy as she did. When Culler first appeared, I was as curious as she was. Even though I sometimes wanted to slap her for some of her choices, I understood her so well.

If I had to choose one thing that I didn't like about this book, I would have to say that for a while, I wasn't sure about where it was going. The summary promised a sort-of mystery/adventure kind of story, but for a while, the book centered more on Eddie dealing with things at home, and not the new adventures with Culler. Which wasn't too bad, because of how well-written Eddie's troubles are, but I kept waiting to see if the summary was telling me truth or if it only gave me false expectations. Eventually, though, Eddie and Culler began their promised, and it was lovely. There were so many beautiful, tragic moments involved, but also so many unexpected twists and moments that made me rage. It was one heck of a ride, and I loved every minute of it.

Fall for Anything is another realistic, emotional, well-written, beautiful, excellent, etc. book from Courtney Summers. It will be officially out on December 21, but I've heard that it's already showing up in the wild. You should read it.

Book details: St. Martin's Griffin/Paperback/$9.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Spoilers for the first 5 books in the Vampire Academy series ahead! None for this book.

[description from goodreads]

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules.

She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir Princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose- for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you?


It's over. *sob* Well, not too over because there's the spin-off series, but still, no more Rose perspective! I'm saddened by this but cannot wait for the spin-off. But enough about that, onto my informal review of this installment.

The beginning of Last Sacrifice, like the beginnings of the last few installments, was too slow for my tastes, but as intriguing as ever. While reading the first couple hundred pages, I kept waiting for something big to happen, and even though it took a long time for that big thing to happen, I did at least enjoy those opening pages because of the new aspects introduced. I enjoyed seeing where the mystery took each of the characters, especially when they encountered new and very different people. I loved that the new people and mystery both
allowed for some super exciting action scenes, which are often my favorite parts of the series as a whole.

I also liked seeing what was going on with Rose and with Lissa through their bond, though I often felt that there were more Lissa Adventures in the book than there were Rose Adventures. It was cool to get the full perspective on things and how the girls' stories overlapped even though they were far apart. Plus, with more Lissa-bond moments, I got to see more of my beloved Christian and Adrian.

Spoiler thoughts (highlight to read): STILL TEAM ADRIAN. I cried at the end when he and Rose were talking. He better get a big role in the spin-off because he was totally ripped off with that conclusion. Adrian/Jill -- I SHIP IT.

Last Sacrifice is not my favorite installment but it's a worthy conclusion to this fabulous series. Once you get past the slow beginning, there is plenty of mystery, action, and "!!!" moments. I cannot wait for more of this world-- need spin-off now!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I took my last two finals of the semester today, which means that CHRISTMAS BREAK HAS BEGUN! Thank goodness.

I feel so FREE. As soon as I bubbled in the last answer on my scantron today, it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders (except then I had to wait 45 minutes for school to actually end). I finally get a BREAK (even though I have homework over break, wtf)! I have TIME! I don't even remember what it is like to have spare time. I'm still not sure what I will do with myself, but I do know that I shall be reading MANY THINGS. I haven't been able to read in what feels like forever. I was sad not to read, but at the same time I'm glad I got a break because I was getting a little burned out on books. However, now I am reinvigorated about reading. Huzzah!

Some things that are on my list to read this break:
  • Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (OMG SO EXCITED YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW. I'll probably end up starting it today.)
  • Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers (This book has been taunting me for MONTHS because I've been unable to read it. Finally, I get to read another Courtney Summers book. I LOVE HER WORK.)
  • Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (Sequel to Hex Hall yaaaay!)
  • The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (YAY MYSTERIES!)
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (Everyone I know seems to love this book, so I hope I do too.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inconvenient by Margie Gelbwasser

[description from goodreads]

Welcome to Glenfair, New Jersey’s Little Moscow, where fifteen-year-old Alyssa Bondar lives with her Russian-born, Jewish parents. In their culture, drinking is as traditional as blinchiki and piroshkis. So when her mom starts having bad days, it seems like Alyssa’s the only one who notices-or cares.

Alyssa would love to focus on regular stuff like her first kiss with Keith, her cute track team partner-or simply come home without dread of what she might find. But someone has to clean up her mom’s mess. Her dad is steeped in work, the evening news, and denial. Her best friend Lana is busy-shamelessly vying for a place with the popular crowd who ridicule their Russian heritage.

It’s up to Alyssa to save her mom-and her family. But who will be there to catch Alyssa when her mom’s next fall off the wagon drags her down, too?


The first thing I noticed about Inconvenient were the characters-- both the good and the bad. Alyssa's best friend Lana is way hotter than Alyssa and does everything she can to be popular: a type of character I despise in any and all books. Because of my hatred of Hot Best Friends, it took a while for me to get used to reading about Alyssa and Lana's escapades. I never really warmed up to Lana, but after a while I could at least see why the two were friends. Except for the bits with the popular crowd Lana tried to infiltrate, whom I disliked both because of their unrealistic dialogue and obnoxious attitudes, I enjoyed reading about Alyssa and Lana's friendship. It wasn't perfect despite its longevity, which made it much more realistic. I also enjoyed seeing the budding relationship between Alyssa and Potential Boy Keith develop, even though it took a while for it to finally go anywhere. Sometimes I wanted to slap the both of them, but I especially liked seeing their relationship closer to the end of the book, because they were very sweet.

The second thing I noticed about Inconvenient was the inclusion of culture-- something that was original and delightful to read about. The Russian culture was incorporated into the book in such a way that it was neither overwhelming nor didactic. It helped to provide an excellent setting and backdrop, and it also helped to influence the many story lines. I liked seeing it permeate through to all aspects of Alyssa's life, because it helped to relate the current sequence of events to her past. It also permeated into all of the many story lines, which helped to make them more exciting than they already were. There was never a dull moment in this book-- someone was always up to something, and something emotional and dramatic (but not melodramatic) was always occurring. No spoiling, but each event was dealt with well and realistically, especially near the end. Though the end was a bit abrupt, I still found it more realistic than one may expect from this sort of book.

Inconvenient had a few aspects that I inherently dislike, but I quickly got over it and enjoyed this book's many realistic, emotional, always-intriguing story lines.

Book details: Flux/Paperback/$9.95

Source: sent by publisher for review

Monday, December 13, 2010

Margie Gelbwasser Interview

Today I have an interview with the lovely Margie Gelbwasser, author of the recently released Inconvenient.

Here's the description of the book, straight from goodreads, in case you need it:
Welcome to Glenfair, New Jersey’s Little Moscow, where fifteen-year-old Alyssa Bondar lives with her Russian-born, Jewish parents. In their culture, drinking is as traditional as blinchiki and piroshkis. So when her mom starts having bad days, it seems like Alyssa’s the only one who notices-or cares.

Alyssa would love to focus on regular stuff like her first kiss with Keith, her cute track team partner-or simply come home without dread of what she might find. But someone has to clean up her mom’s mess. Her dad is steeped in work, the evening news, and denial. Her best friend Lana is busy-shamelessly vying for a place with the popular crowd who ridicule their Russian heritage.

It’s up to Alyssa to save her mom-and her family. But who will be there to catch Alyssa when her mom’s next fall off the wagon drags her down, too?
It's a great book-- check back for my review tomorrow-- and to give you a little background, here's my interview with the author:

1) Did you consciously decide to write about a Russian-Jewish family and include a lot of culture in the book, or did it just kind of happen that way?

That was a conscious decision. I'm Russian-Jewish and as I've gotten older (not that I'm old!!!), I've come to accept both parts of me and how they shaped who I am. As a teen, I didn't really like the Russian part because it made me feel different from everyone else. So when I started writing the story, I had some of that idea in my head, but the extent to which the culture is depicted kind of happened as I wrote. My original version had only a little bit in it, and then my writing teacher said that that was the part that really spoke to her so I revamped and focused on the culture, how it impacts the alcoholism, how it makes the MC Alyssa and her friend Lana different from others, etc.

I loved that the book included so much culture! I'm glad you listened to your teacher.

2) Ok, let's play a game! Fill in the blanks: Fans of ____ will enjoy Inconvenient because ____

Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy Inconvenient because it has a similar writing style as some of her books and deals with real issues as well as romance.

I like your choice!

3) What's the most exciting thing about being a debut author?

Um, being a debut author is just exciting in itself!! I always wanted to have a book published and it's actually happening and that's just amazing!

(photo via author website, taken by Sam Peltz)

4) At the moment, I'm kind of obsessed with quotes. Do you have a favorite quote or a quote that you think particularly relates to Inconvenient? It can be from anywhere. :D

Oooh...I like this question. But I can't think of quotes. However, there are a few songs that automatically make me think of Inconvenient when I hear them. Is it ok to go the song route?

1. Rockstar by Nickelback: There's a scene in the book where Alyssa and her best friend Lana play around pretending to be models and whenever I hear this song, that scene comes to mind

2. All In by Lifehouse: I just LOVE this song. I can see it representing Keith and Alyssa's relationship and more.

3. Because of You by Kelly Clarkson: Makes me think of the relationship between Alyssa and her mom.

4. Stay You by Wood: See that as Alyssa's theme song or even something that could apply to Lana

5. Songs by The Cure, especially Friday I'm in Love (makes me think of Lana), Mint Car (Keith and Alyssa's first kiss), and Round & Round & Round (works with themes of Inconvenient)

"Because of You" is the type of song that, when it comes on, I feel the need to sing my heart out.

5) What are some of your favorite things RIGHT NOW? Books, movies, people, music, anything!

This question is super appropriate because I just saw this Sound of Music reunion on Oprah last week, and your question reminded me of that song from the movie. :-) Yes, I'm dorky. Favorite things right now: candy corn, marshmallows, my super supportive friends, people who bought my book, Taylor Swift songs, the book ALBATROSS by Josie Bloss (just an amazing, emotional book), friendship reunions, my family, funky earrings and jewelry (I'm not a pearls and diamonds kind of girl--really prefer the artsy stuff you buy at street fairs, kiosks, and flea markets), the new 90210, laughing.

Thank you for having me!!


No, thank you, Margie!

For more on Margie or the book, check out her website, blog, or twitter. Or you can, you know, read Inconvenient.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Descriptions and such from goodreads!

This week I bought two books as my reward for getting through the semester. My finals are this week (AHHHHHH), so once I (hopefully) survive them I am rewarding myself with BOOKS, including these two.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

--- I love the Pretty Little Liars series and am hoping this book is just as addicting! It sounds like it will be.

I also bought Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead, but I will not post the summary because it is full of spoilers for the Vampire Academy series, aka one of the BEST SERIES EVAR. I am so excited to read this last installment, you have no idea. SPOIL IT FOR ME AND YOU WILL BE SEVERELY PUNISHED.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

City of Bones movie!

I know I've been posting about mostly news lately, but news is exciting! And I like to discuss it!

I have been living under a rock the past few days (or rather, a pile of homework) and just now saw that Lily Collins has been cast as Clary in the City of Bones movie.

I can actually see her as Clary! I just hope she can act because I've never seen her in any shows or movies. (Though wikipedia tells me she's only been in like two things that are already out.)

I'm kind of surprised that I have not witnessed any fandom explosion over this news, but then again, I have been living in Junior Year Hell for the past few weeks, away from the Real World. I'm sure that when Jace is cast the fandom will be MUCH LOUDER.

And can I just say that I'm hoping that Alex Pettyfer is not cast as Jace just because he's always chosen as the dream actor for every YA male character ever? Because 90% of the time, when I see a "dream movie cast" for a book/series, he is on it somewhere. He's already in Beastly and I Am Number Four, which are both based on YA novels. You would think that Hollywood had more blond teen boys. Can we please get some new teen actors?

Or maybe I just don't want him cast because I hate Jace Wayland and couldn't care less. YEAH, I SAID IT.

No matter who is cast, I will be seeing this movie, whenever it comes out. Will you?

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Pretty Little Liars people!

(Slight, implicit spoilers for the series follow!)

HAVE YOU HEARD? There will be four more books in the Pretty Little Liars series, according to Entertainment Weekly. (The next in the series, Twisted, will be out in July.)

I love this series (both the books and the TV show, which comes back next month! YAY!) but when I first heard this news, I was a bit skeptical. And I still am. I felt as if book 8 wrapped things up well and solved everything, but now there will be MORE? I had enough trouble believing the girls got into more of the same trouble during book 5. I also felt as if books 5-7 got really repetitive, and they all sort of blend together for me now.

Now, presumably, there will be ANOTHER A/stalker/creeper/weirdo/etc? I hope there's a bigger twist involved in this new batch of books, because, even though I know they're trying to cash in on the show's success, I will totally read them.

What say you, people who have read the books?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2010 Survey

I first saw this survey over at Ten Cent Notes (hey Jory!) and since I love surveys, lists, etc. so much I thought I would fill it out. The Perpetual Page Turner first posted it!

There's still a month of the year left, but no matter.

Best Book of 2010

Why must we start with such a hard question? After much thought, I am going to have to go with Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS BOOK. I am going to be mentioning it on the blog A LOT this month.

Worst Book of 2010

I'm going to have to say A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.I had to read it over the summer for school and BLAAAH. The writing style was so obnoxious and took all joy from my ~reading experience. It didn't help that I had to analyze the heck out of it.

Most Disappointing Book of 2010

Hmm. This one sounds so mean. xD PASS.

Most Surprising (in a good way!) Book of 2010

Probably Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken because I normally stay far, far away from high fantasy, but love this book.

Most-Recommended-to-Others book of 2010

Anna and the French Kiss, obvs.

Best Series You Discovered in 2010

I'll have to go with the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa for this one. Technically the series isn't over yet, but OH WELL. This series, starting with The Iron King, is so action-packed and bloody and awesome. Also, Puck > Ash, I AM JUST SAYING.

Favorite New Authors Discovered in 2010

OMG SO MANY. Stephanie Perkins, Heidi R. Kling, Alexandra Bracken, Julie Kagawa, Suzanne Young, and SO MANY OTHERS.

Most Hilarious Read of 2010

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales had me laughing the whole time, both because it was funny and because it mirrored my current state of mind so much that it's nearing a depressing level.

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book of 2010

I have no idea! Umm, maybe Grace by Elizabeth Scott? That was a good one.

Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2010


Most Memorable Character in 2010

Violet from Mostly Good Girls because SHE IS ME except much funnier. And St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss because omg SWOON.

Most Beautifully-Written Book of 2010

I have no idea. I don't really notice writing style unless it's particularly amazing or particularly horrific. Though I do remember now that How They Met (and Other Stories) by David Levithan was the very first book I read this year, and David's writing is always amazing, so I shall pick that.

Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010

Probably Anna and the French Kiss because I am never so excited about any book. Any mention of this book sends me into scary fangirl mode. I love it SO MUCH.

Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2010 to Read

How They Met (and Other Stories) by David Levithan. He's only my favorite author, so I have no idea how I managed to wait to read this. I love it SO MUCH. Each story is beautiful.

There's a blogging part of the survey as well, but this post is already so long, and I have homework that must be done, so I shall stop here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: 2011 Debuts

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.

Today's pick: two 2011 debuts I can't wait for!

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Sometimes falling in love means you've got to kill somebody.

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were destined to be together forever. Of that, Jana was sure.

But Jana just died—in a bowling accident. And now she’s trapped in Dead School. Jana is certain that it won’t be long before Michael kills himself in order to spend eternity with her—but the days are passing and Michael is, inexplicably, still alive. So Jana decides to take matters into her own hands. And nothing—not even Dead School bad boy Mars Dreamcote’s enticingly warm touch or the devastating secret he holds about her death—will stop her from making her dreams come true.

Romeo and Juliet meets Heathers in this hilariously macabre take on paranormal romance, packed with heart-stopping suspense and sizzling star-crossed love.


This description had me at sentence one. I didn't really need to read past that for this book to land on my wishlist, but I kept reading anyway. Bowling accident? Dead School? Heathers comparison? Bring. It. On.

Released June 21.


The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn't belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wealthy than she, and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie's room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.

Willie doesn't believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn't sure anymore. She's also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys' school who has taken an interest in her—his past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even she has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something. . . .


This sounds so fabulous! I can't wait to read it because it will most likely have one of the most original settings I've read. Plus, ghosts! And secrets!

Released June 14.