Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Give a Book, Save a Life

The following was sent to a colleague of mine, Lisa Osur the Library Media Specialist at 
Holley Central School District, by one of her students. THIS is why we do what we do.

Here you are,
Surrounded by books,
That make my day.
I read these stories,
Get lost in their pages,
Find joy in the simplest of things,
My message here to you is…

“Books are my family,
My friends,
And I disappear inside them,
To escape the people who insisted,
I disappear for real.”

Books saved me from bullies,
And you gave me those books,
That saved me,
That saved my life,
Thank you.
I only ask one thing of you,
Pass this poem on,
Give it to your family,
Your friends,
Anyone who will listen.
Post in on a website,
Just as long as the message is heard.
Books saved my life from bullying.
Give a book,
Save a life.
- Anonymous Student

When you get discouraged, when you get frustrated, when you wonder why you bother;
remember this poem and remember the lives you've impacted that you will never know about.

Special thanks to Lisa for sharing this poem and passing it on to the rest of us.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 YA Books I Want To See As Movies - If They're Done RIGHT!

A lot of YA Books are making the transition to the big screen, here's my list of books that I think would make amazing movies. If done correctly!

1. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce - This novel is rich with detail, but short enough to make
a good feature length film without having to scrap huge swaths of the novel. The story features a kick-ass heroine, magic, knight training and would be a fantastic fantasy film.

2. Oddkins by Dean Koontz - If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this "fable for all ages" try to get your hands on a copy. The print version is hard to find, but you can grab a copy on kindle here. Good and evil clash as the Oddkins, a group of special toys made for kids who need true friends, race against time to find a new Toy Maker before the evil toys have a chance to find an Evil Toy Maker.

3. Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil - This is one of those rare realistic fiction novels that I LOVED. The emotion, setting and plot all worked to create a unique romance that left me feeling warm and fuzzy rather than rolling my eyes.

4. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson - I don't have words to describe my love of this book. The entire premise lends itself to a visual medium and I'd love to see this book turned into a movie.

5. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride - If done correctly, this novel would be a fantastic addition to the horro-medy film genre. Violent garden gnomes, werewolves, & necromancers FTW!

6. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - These novels lend themselves wonderfully to the feature film format and I'd love to see them adapted.

7. Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins & Van Jensen - He's a puppet who kills vampires with wooden stakes broken from his nose. How is this not already a movie?!

8. Elfquest by Wendy & Richard Pini - These were my introduction to graphic novels and hold a special place in my heart.  The story is also incredibly rich and peopled with characters that refuse to release your thoughts.

9. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard - This is such an atmospheric novel - love, love love!

10. Gallagher Girl Novels by Ally Carter - As I read this series I saw the movies in my head.  Would love to see them adapted!

What YA titles would you like to see made into feature films?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Kimberly’s Favorite Literary Friendships

Top Ten Tuesday is the weekly meme hosted by the excellent blog I skipped last week’s post and this post is late, but I’m trying! This week, the topic is friendship, specifically my favorite friendships in literature. I love when books feature strong friendships, so this was a pretty easy topic for me. Here are just a few of my favorite friendships in books.

1) Ari & Dante from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Benjamin Alire Saenz) – No friendship is truly static, and I love reading books that show how they evolve over time. Ari and Dante’s friendship is a beautiful example of this evolution and the moment at the end of their story, the moment where everything changes, is perfection.

2) The Tree Sisters from Withering Tights (Louise Rennison) – I adore Tallulah and her Tree Sisters, wacky antics, crazy notions, boy obsessed conversations and all!

3) Karou & Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Laini Taylor) – Karou and Zuzana have a refreshingly open, sarcastic and sometimes crazy friendship. Their interactions are a breath of fresh air in an angst-filled book.

4) Julie & Maddie from Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein) – This book ripped out my heart and handed it back in pieces, but Julie and Maddie’s loyalty to each other made it worth it in the end.

5) Cammie, Bex, Liz & Macey from the Gallagher Girls novels (Ally Carter) – They may be spies in training, but that doesn’t exempt them from all the ups and downs of teenage lives! Nothing, not even secret organizations and assassins can ruin this friendship!

6) Jasper & Howie from I Hunt Killers (Barry Lyga) – Jasper and Howie’s lives are complicated, but they stick together through it all. Any friend who will get a tattoo (or many) for you because you can’t is a friend worth keeping, right?

7) Anne Shirley & Diana Barry from Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) – They are the very best of kindred spirits and bosom buddies.

8) Emi & Charlotte from Everything Leads to You (Nina LaCour) – These two are polar opposites, but they balance each other out and keep each other grounded in a way that allows both girls to be their best selves.

9) Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Dawn & Stacey from The Baby-Sitters Club (Ann M. Martin) – As a tween, I read these books constantly and dreamed of starting a BSC with my own friends. I will always have a fondness for these girls and their baby-sitting, best friend antics.

10) Harry, Ron & Hermione from Harry Potter series – Does this one even need any explanation? This the ultimate friendship, tested beyond measure and stronger for it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: "Everything Leads to You" by Nina LaCour

As much as I wanted a love story out of a movie, 
I know now that movies can only hope to capture this kind of love.

The summer after high school is one of endings and beginnings for Emi. Some endings, like finally graduating high school, are easy. Some, like breaking up with her on-again/off-again girlfriend for the last time, have the capacity to break her heart. But as one chapter of her life ends, another, far more exciting chapter begins and Emi soon finds herself working as a production designer on a small, independent film and chasing a mystery discovered at the estate sale of a Hollywood legend. As Emi navigates the uncharted waters of her first solo job on a movie set, will her love life flounder, or will she learn how to fully accept love however it might enter her life?

This is my second encounter with one of Nina LaCour’s novels, and it was even better than my first. (I somehow missed her second novel, The Disenchantments, but I will definitely be remedying that soon.) A superb blend of mystery and romance, Hollywood glam and illusion, Everything Leads to You is perfection. It’s exactly the kind of book I have been wanting to read, that delicate mix of melancholy and euphoria, and I honestly can’t heap enough praise on it.

Everything Leads to You is a breath of fresh air in what is often a heartbreaking subject in YA fiction. In the past few months, I have read a few YA novels dealing with LGBT issues. They were well-written and dealt realistically with the subject, but all but one was depressing. Unfortunately, I know that is the reality for many teens struggling with sexuality and coming out, but what about the lucky teens who do have a loving support network. I appreciate that Everything Leads to You isn’t the story of Emi’s realization that she likes girls, nor is it a coming out story. It’s simply the story of a girl who is trying to navigate life and find a sweet girl who might want to take the journey with her. There are issues, of course, but the issues aren’t because Emi and Ava are both girls, but because relationships are complicated and scary. This is the type of book we need more of in YA literature.

LaCour’s writing in this novel is lush and inviting. She draws readers in with the promise of an enticing plot, then keeps them hooked with her vibrant characters, striking imagery and beautiful writing. Emi is a production designer, a highly creative person with an eye for detail and setting. Surroundings are important to Emi, so it only makes sense that the setting for this novel would be vividly described for readers. LaCour has done a fantastic job painting detailed pictures of all Emi’s sets, both real and created, so that we can see the world as Emi sees it.

I also appreciated how multifaceted LaCour’s characters are throughout the novel. Emi is a realistic blend of teenage confidence and uncertainty. But she’s also the kind of girl who, when something drags her down, manages to pulls herself together and is the better for it. I loved her not because she was perfect, but because she was as flawed and beautiful as the rest of us. LaCour’s secondary characters, particularly Charlotte and Ava, are treated with as much importance and care as Emi, adding depth to the novel.

Everything Leads to You is a striking novel that somehow manages to enchant readers while stripping away the illusions of Hollywood, first love, and new love. Nina LaCour continues to be a strong voice in YA literature and her latest novel is not to be missed.

Book Source: ARC from the publisher at TLA Annual Conference (Thanks, Penguin and Dutton Books!)
Review: Kimberly

Recommended Ages: 14+
Recommended for Readers of:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers Kimberly Would Frame as Art

Top Ten Tuesday is the weekly meme hosted by the excellent blog The Broke and the Bookish. This feature has been on hiatus for the past few weeks for various reasons, some fun (the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in San Antonio), some less so (bronchitis and a busy work load). But I’m back now and will, hopefully, keep up with the weekly topics!

This week’s list is more visual than usual, as it is all about beautiful book covers! I fully admit that I judge books by their cover all the time. Maybe that’s a failing, but I choose to think of it as a challenge to publishers to create stunning, eye-catching book covers. Here’s my list of ten book covers I would love to frame as art.

1)      Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal – I love all the covers in this series, but this is my absolute favorite. Her dress and coat, the birds, the expression on the man’s face… So dreamy! (The book, on the other hand, is bonkers. Sigh.)

2)      Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I was so upset when they changed this cover for the paperback edition of the book because, despite the fighter planes flying in the distance, it looks too light-hearted. The original cover better captured the tone and theme of the novel and was starkly beautiful.

3)      Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl – Another book where the paperback cover is a huge disappointment. I love everything about the original cover: the color palette of blues and purples, the title font and the detailings around it, and the castle precariously perched on the cliff. So pretty!

4)      Wonder by R.J. Palacio – Of all the covers on this list, this one is the simplest, and I think that’s why it works. My favorite feature is the placement of the title around Augie’s eye.

5)      Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler – Another book with a simple cover; yet another book with a different paperback cover. In this case, I like both covers, but I do still prefer the hardcover edition, particularly how the title words seem to be spilling out of the teacup.

6)      For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund – This cover seems to have some white-washing controversy attached to it, but I still love it. The starlight shining on her is gorgeous. It gives the cover a magical, dreamy quality that is impossible to resist.

7)      Fire by Kristin Cashore – I have no idea where this particular cover came from because I’ve never actually seen it on a book. Despite that, it remains my favorite version. The colors are amazing, and Fire looks both elegant and fierce.

8)      Entwined by Heather Dixon – I’m not usually a fan of the “girl in a ball gown” covers that are all the rage in YA literature right now, I’ve certainly included enough of them on this list. This is yet another of those. Simply put, this cover is gorgeous.

9)      A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – I saw this version of the cover on a blog a few weeks ago and fell in love. Apparently it’s a new hardcover edition by Harper/Voyager UK and I WANT IT. (The rest of the minimalist covers the publisher released can be seen here.)

10)   The Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black – I recently stumbled across the (I believe) UK covers for this series, and I was immediately smitten. This is a fantastic series, but it suffered from cover problems and a style change partway through the series. (I just can’t forgive publishers for that. My books don’t match now!) The UK covers are vastly superior.

So what book covers do you find most appealing?
*Cover art belongs to the publishers

See You in June!

Due to wedding stuff (not mine), work and Comicpalooza my time is currently a wee bit overwhelmed.  The blog is taking a brief siesta and will be back June 1, 2014 - earlier if life slows down!

Thanks for reading and I'll be back soon.