Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Comment July Challenge

image source: we ♥ it

I have decided to take on Megan of Literary Life's Comment July Challenge. Like Megan, I pledge to comment of at least five blogs a day throughout the month of July. I will post links to the blogs commented on (I'll probably do a summary post once a week). I do spend a lot of time reading blogs, but not so much responding, so this should be a fun challenge! Plus, everyone loves getting comments right?

Want to join me in spreading the comment-love?
Check out Megan's original Comment July Challenge post and sign up with us.

The Babysitters' Club Makeover

So you all know I was a bit of a BSC tragic in the 90s. I'd been contemplating giving the BSC a style makeover following my last Polyvore post, and thought now, having just read The Summer Before, was the perfect time. I always felt in the books that the girls acted and had way more responsibilty than their intended (and never changing) ages - I mean really, how would let a thirteen year old look after their baby? So I've tried to incorporate this, as well as capture each girl's distinct personality and bring it into the noughties (so no more oversized sweaters or crazy layered socks!).

KristyFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Kristy by Girl_Friday featuring Nike

Kristy is the president of the BSC. She's a self-declared tomboy, and is known for her leadership skills (bossy or control-freak may be a more appropriate word), making her perfect for the BSC and as coach of a junior softball team, The Krushers. No more turtlenecks (seriously, did she ever wear anything else?)

Softly spoken Mary-Anne is the secretary of the BSC. Her father used to be super strict but since remarrying Dawn's mother, she's been given a bit more freedom (and is now allowed to wear jeans to school!) This shrinking violet is also the only member of the BSC with a boyfriend and the only member with a serious boyfriend (Southern sporty stud, Logan Bruno from Kentucky).

Claudia Kishi is Japanese American with amazing long, silky black hair, a flawless creamy complexion and almond shaped eyes. As she's an ~artist~, she wears the most outrageous outfits that would look totally ridiculous on anyone else. Like today she wore a short black and red floral jumpsuit ontop of black lace tights. She paired it with a fitted maroon blazer covered in crazy badges and topped off the outfit with cherry-red Doc Marten boots.

StaceyFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Stacey by Girl_Friday featuring Chanel

Stacey is the most fashionable member of the BSC. She's originally from New York City and is totally sophisticated. Always described as having curly blonde (permed) hair and long eyelashes. She also has diabetes and loves math.

Dawn is a transplant from sunny California - though always seems to be moving back and forth in the books. She is super chill (except when it comes to the environment, then she gets crazy hardcore) a vegetarian and health food freak. Her style was always described as 'California casual' (which I never quite understood).

Jessi is a junior member of the BSC. She is also a dedicated ballet dancer, one-time synchronised swimmer and a student at Stoneybrook Middle School. Her only other notable trait is that she's African American, unfortunately I don't remember reading many of her books - sorry!

Mallory Pike is also a junior member and the BSC's token redhead. She is one of eight children and unfortunately seems to suffer from ugly duck syndrome. Mallory is an aspiring writer and loves horse stories. Growing up, I always hated that Mallory was so bland and always looked frumpy on the covers. This especially annoyed me as I too was a redhead, glasses wearing girl with braces! I really wanted to give Mallory an awesome new look (and ended up making her new style freakishly close to mine).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Summer Before

The Facts
Author: Anne M. Martin
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: 2010
Length: 219 pages

The Fiction
Before there was Kristy’s great idea, kid kits, Super Specials and mysteries afoot in the Babysitters Club, there was one summer which started it all.
The Summer Before is the prequel to Ann M. Martin’s hugely successful Babysitters Club novels, which is written ten years after the last book of the original series was published. This novel revisits (or introduces for new readers) Stoneybrook, Connecticut and lets us see the foundation for characters and issues which Martin has explored throughout the Babysitters Club books. Through The Summer Before, we share an important summer for pre-teens Kristy, Mary-Anne, Claudia and Stacey. Each girl faces a number of problems over the course of the summer: Kristy is trying to come to terms with a sense of abandonment after her father walking out (and her mother moving on), Mary Anne struggles for independence from her strict father, Claudia experiences her first crush and Stacey is leaving behind the bright lights and big city New York to be the new girl in a small town.

Using a technique similar to that employed in the Super Specials, The Summer Before alternates in points of view between the four girls, allowing us (whether we are old school fans or new, first-time readers) to gain a strong sense of each girl’s personality and character. Each girl’s narrative arc is fairly well developed for the intended reader and her (mostly) age appropriate issues are dealt with sympathy and sincerity. In terms of style, I did feel that The Summer Before was more polished and cohesive than the original series - possibly due to the multiple points of view and the use of Scholastic ghostwriters in the 90s to keep up with the demand for the series. My only significant disappointment with The Summer Before, was that I found myself wanting more from the Mary-Anne storyline (I kept waiting to hear more about her mother - seeing as it seemed to be set up with the discovery of her mother's dolls, that Mary-Anne would learn more about her that summer) and could probably have done with less Claudia and Frankie. Also, I did notice a lack of obvious date-specific and technologoical references – which may be surprising to a new reader (why doesn’t Mary Anne just call her dad on his mobile?) but it wasn't jarring.

It has been previously mentioned, but I was a really big Babysitters Club fan growing up. I owned at least 30 of the original series, as well as a handful of the specials/mysteries (and sadly about two-dozen of the Little Sister books, argh I don’t know why exactly because Karen Brewer is one of the most annoying children in literature!) I enjoyed The Summer Before – though I’ll admit that it’s hard to say how much my enjoyment was enhanced by a sense of nostalgia. On the plus side, I always liked that the novels promoted female friendship and young women entrepreneurs (oh how the BSC inspired me on many early money-making endeavours! Like selling handmade notebooks and offering to pet sit). I bought two copies, one of which to give to my cousin for her ninth birthday later in the year - I really hope she’ll get into it and I can introduce her to the series.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

By My Bedside #11

By My Bedside is part of In My Mailbox - a weekly book meme, created by Kristi of The Story Siren. All books are purchased by me unless noted otherwise.

The Summer Before -Ann M. Martin
Whip It! (originally published as Derby Girl) - Shauna Cross
♥ Fury - Shirley Marr
This Lullaby - Sarah Dessen (library)
Audrey Wait! - Robin Benway (library)

What is on your to-read pile this week?

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Girl Friday at Snark and Bark

I just wanted to interupt scheduled posting to do a tiny bit of cross promotion - I've just started writing about cancelled TV shows, starting with Freaks and Geeks for the Snark & Bark blog, so if you're a fan of the show please check it out! If you're not a fan (um why not?), check out the rest of the blog - we cover an awesome range of shows by a fantastic team of contributors and is edited by the amazing Adele of Persnickety Snark.

Mixed Bag #7

(Image source: Girly Me tumblr)

♥ A sneak peek at the cover of Rick Riordan's newest book, Rick talks about life after Percy Jackson and his plans for The Kane Chronicles.

♥ The international trailer for Tomorrow When The War Began has now been released. I'm so excited for this film!

Tori Spelling turning her daughter into future Twilighter? I love you Tori but please spare Stella from this mess!

♥ Speaking of all things Twi, apparently Burger King have got in on the Twi-madness in a promotional campaign leading up to the release of Eclipse

Steph Bowe made two beautiful posts featuring images which are inspiring her current work-in-progress. Part One and Part Two.

♥ Kristi of The Story Sirens names her Top Ten Book Covers

Adele reviews Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell - which was one of my top five favourite books read last year. As usual, Adele's review is insightful and thought-provoking.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You

The Facts
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Lothian
Date: 2008
Length: 284 pages

The Fiction
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You is Ally Carter’s first novel in the Gallagher Girls series. Cameron ‘Cammie’ Morgan is used to blending in. In fact, she excels in it. This may seem rather unfortunate for a teenage girl, but when you’re a student at an exclusive boarding school for spies-in-training, it is a skill which is highly regarded. That is, until she is noticed by one particularly adorable (and completely normal) local boy. Cammie must now take on her most challenging mission so far – playing girlfriend without blowing her own cover or jeopardising the school’s reputation.

I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading others in what seems like a really fun series. As someone who was a huge fan of both Harriet the Spy and Nancy Drew when growing up, I was delighted to see a spy series developed for teen girl readers. I really loved hearing all about the history of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Masquerading as a private school for rich girls, Gallagher Academy trains its students in espionage, body combat, foreign languages and covert operations. Carter makes excellent use of technical terms, spy jokes and sleuthing techniques.

So obviously the other major plotline in the novel is Cammie trying to maintain a ‘normal’ relationship with Josh, a local guy from town. She has to start thinking like a regular teenage girl (quite a task, as the child of two CIA operatives and her mother currently acting as principal of Gallagher Academy), and play the role of girlfriend, whilst disguising her other life. The romance plotline is slightly predictable (don’t people realise that secret plans never work out and when someone lies about who they are, it always comes ends up coming up and backfiring on them), and would have been pedestrian if it hadn’t been for the spy-school spin on events. Cammie meeting Josh in a park – boring! Cammie sneaking out of school through a series of secret passages, then accidently executing a kick-arse karate move on him – awesome!

Carter also writes female friendship quite well and managed to give Cammie reasonably well-developed friends, with their own quirks and distinctive personalities. I also liked the way she handled the mother-daughter relationship which was able to address relatable parenting issues (single motherhood, having a working mother) as well as less conventional ones (your mother is now your principal and a renowned former secret agent).

Whilst the narrative is successfully concluded and Cammie’s mission completed, Carter still leaves enough clues to make you want to keep reading the series. We’re left hopeful for future missions and for Cammie to do some snooping to shed light on her own family secrets - like what really happened to her father. Carter seems to have the right combination of Mallory Towers, Veronica Mars and Alias.
Not only is it a fun read, but also great to see such a strong, female focused and empowering series for young women.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

It's my first time participating in Waiting on Wednesday - a weekly book meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine to "spotlight upcoming releases". Not sure why I had never tried this before because I do genuinely get really exciting over the announcement of publication dates (excited enough to even note them in my diary - so that I can make a pitstop at a bookshop the day they're due). Here are two books I am ridiculously looking forward to in the coming months:

Passing Strange - Daniel Waters
Published by Simon & Schuster
Australian Release - August 1st, 2010

Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager - and now that she's dead, she's still passing - this time, as alive. When her dead friends are accused of a high profile murder and forced into hiding, she has to prove their innocence. Which means doing the unthinkable and becoming the girlfriend of bionist zealot Peter Martinsburg, who she suspects of framing them. But if he finds out who Karen really is, the consequences for her will be worse than death.
This is the third (and I believe, final) book in Daniel Waters' zombie stories (following Generation Dead and it's sequel Kiss of Life). I've recently read (and hope to review shortly) both books and am dying (pun intended) to read from Karen's point of view.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Published by Random House
Australian Release - October 26, 2010

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Truly cannot wait for this to be released! I love both authors' writing, but am probably more in love with their YA collaborations (double the awesome, am I right?). I love their collaboration style (alternating chapters) and combined with a bookstore setting and a real-life scavenger hunt across New York sounds too amazing for words!

Blog Spots

On Monday, I blogged on-location for the first time. Now it wasn't anywhere exciting - the total opposite if I'm totally honest, as I blogged from McDonalds (free wi-fi and vanilla thickshakes!) When I first bought a laptop I had visions of writing in awesome, writerly locations like cafes and at the park. More than six months later, I finally took my laptop out of the house for the first time. I think it's mostly because I feel self-conscious - mostly because Dell Parker (yes the laptop has a name) is such a fatty with a 15.4" monitor) and because I worry about looking pretentious. Anyway, I ending up getting a decent amount of writing, blogging and commenting done and (as far as I know) no one looked at me funny - though I was with a friend who was also multi-tasking on her computer.

Here is where I usually blog from:

My bedroom desk which isn't normally this clean (I tidied it before the photo was taken, and by tidy I mean pushed the layers of paper, food wrappers and CDs onto the floor). By the way, I don't normally have two computers going at once, by the way (I am usually very environmentally aware!) The PC currently has no internet access but holds five years worth of photos, music and documents I can't bear to part with. The laptop is where I primarily write from as it's fast and pretty spiffy all round. Also featured on my desk: coffee, to-do lists, post-its, pens, scanner/photocopier currently buried under two manuscripts and a file of clippings, nail polish and one of my Freaks and Geeks disks (re-watching for the Snark and Bark blog). Sometimes I write from the couch downstairs, but I find I usually get distracted by the close proximity of food.

Anyway, fellow bloggers, I pose this question: where do you blog from?
Do you primarily blog from home? Or do you have an awesome hangout/cafe/park/workplace where you blog from instead?
I'd love to know and pictures are very welcome - feel free to even make your own Blog Spots post (nosey people like me would love to have a look!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Snack Size #4

After looking over my Reading List for the year, I've noticed I have read an awful lot of Young Adult books about missing girls - I can only assume it's the true-crime enthusiast in me, slipping out. So below are three mini-reviews (reviewlettes of one hundred words) all focused around abductions for the morbidly inclined:

Talking to Strangers - Anne Cassidy
Published by Scholastic, 2007
192 pages

Young Caroline disappears from her housing estate one afternoon, causing panic within the community. Maggie is the last person to have seen her alive, climbing into a dark car. Left to spend the summer alone whilst her best friend abroad, Maggie attempts to investigate the abduction with the help of a local boy, and quickly becomes suspicious of her new, mysterious neighbour. I found Maggie’s emerging memories of her own previous brush with a predator (the subtly creepy Material Man) to be more interesting and gave a better sense of her voice, than the whodunit plot, seemed slightly predictable.

Missing Girl - Norma Fox Mazer
Published by Harper Collins, 2008
304 pages

Someone is watching the five Herbert sisters. He observes their daily trek to school each morning, watches them laugh, chatter and fight. He obsesses. Then one day, when least expected, he acts on it. The story is told from varying points of view (the predator, Beauty, Fancy and Autumn), which I found to be one of its most compelling features and allowing for a very well-rounded story full of unique, developed voices. Fairly simple in narrative, and yet Norma Fox Mazer seems to get the right balance of family drama and suspense and engagement with the characters. An intriguing read.

Stolen - Lucy Christopher
Published by The Chicken House, 2009
320 pages

En route at the airport, sixteen year-old English teen Gemma is swept up in an encounter with a charming young man. When she awakens, she is trapped in the middle of the harsh Australian landscape with Ty, a trouble man who has retreated away from society. Stolen is told almost entirely in second person, in a letter to Ty from Gemma’s point of view. Lucy Christopher does an amazing job capturing the Australian landscape and commendably developed Ty into a fleshed out and sympathetic character. Gemma’s journey reminded me of Jenny Agutter’s character in the film Walkabout (1971). Would highly recommend.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Seven Things About Me

Wow, I was lucky enough to be chosen by Naomi of inkcrush to receive an award for my blog, which was very surprising and lovely! Thank you so much Naomi!

So as a condition of the award, I need to:

1) Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award

2) Share seven things about yourself

3) Pass this along to fifteen bloggers... (I passed it on to three lucky ladies instead)

Seven Things About Me
♥  I am exactly 5 feet and half an inch tall. Despite always wanting to be taller, I haven't grown at all, in height, since I was thirteen. In every single school photo I have ever had taken, I am in the front row.

♥ Things I adore: slurpees, coffee, cupcakes, mix CDs, watching movies under warm blankets, picnics, musicals, inside jokes and the smell of new books.

♥ The strangest gift I have ever received was a pair of hermit crabs for my birthday last year. Spencer and Jasper were a present from two of the girls I work with. They still freak me out a little bit.

♥ I spent twelve years in the Catholic education system, but most of my biblical knowledge comes from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. I do have a really strong fascination with Saints though.

♥ I am really big on manners. Having worked in retail for some time now, I think that politeness and courtesy are underrated values in today's society (I'm such a nana, I know!)

♥  I have quite a good knowledge of pop culture and TV trivia, and remember the silliest of details when it comes to movies. However, I struggle to remember my postcode and still work out percentages on a calculator.

♥  My little sister is my best friend. We can be very alike (we have the same tastes in clothing, shoes and movies, though she has way cooler taste in music than me) though people don't often realise we're related. We crack each other up with movie quotes and random jokes (she is very reserved, but always comes out with the rudest one-liners) and drive each other crazy. I love her to death. I also have a brother. I figure I should mention him - he's a pretty awesome guy.

Passing It Along
♥ Chachic of Chachic's Book Nook
♥ Kate of Bean There, Read That
♥ Rae of Rae Reads and Rae In The Forest

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wherever Nina Lies

The Facts
Author: Lynn Weingarten
Publisher: Point (Scholastic Imprint)
Date: 2009
Length: 311 pages

The Fiction
Ellie’s life has never been the same since her older sister Nina disappeared over two years ago. Despite the best efforts of her friends and family, she’s never been quite able to move on. Until one day, she discovers a clue to Nina’s disappearance, which sends her on a cross-country road trip with a charming new friend. Wherever Nina Lies is a road story, a mystery and a journey of love and self-discovery.

I found Ellie to be a very relatable character – a bit naive, but very likeable all the same. I did get the impression that her best friend Amanda would be quite hard to deal with, and her relationship with her mother was minimal, so it was easy to sympathise with her and encourage her to start looking for Nina. I also found, like Ellie, that it was very easy to get quickly swept up into the excitement of the road trip and fall for the charm of Sean. I really enjoyed Ellie’s retelling of her childhood memories of Nina – they were so lovely (the one in which Nina sings Happy Birthday over and over to try and block out their parents arguing was my favourite), and really reiterated why Nina was so special to Ellie, and why Ellie had been unable to move on since her disappearance.

I kind of love road-trip stories and this, combined with the mystery, was just well-suited to my reading interests. Though sadly, I found that I far preferred the journey to the destination. The trip was so well written, and I loved all the pit stops, the people (the Jamies! Oh the Jamies!) and the little quirks along the way. I’m still in two minds about the twist Weingarten throws two-thirds of the way in. Without giving too much I way, let’s just say I had figured something was up (Ellie – didn’t your mother ever tell you if something is too good to be true, then it probably is?). The final third of the novel seemed to have quite a change in tone and saw some big plot twists, which certainly shook things up. I did feel things started to get kind of over-the-top, and despite a rather neat and tidy ending, I still felt slightly unsatisfied with the way in which characters were left.

Wherever Nina Lies definitely appealed to my love to road stories and mysteries. It’s a relatively easy, but fairly pleasing read. Nina Weingarten does a great job at creating exciting, dynamic scenes (the insane house-wrecking party was just amazing). Whilst I was slightly disappointed with the ending, the strength of the rest of the novel made up for it. An enjoyable debut!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mixed Bag #6

Snark and Bark is a new TV blog started by Adele of Persnickety Snark. I'm going to be a regular contributor, blogging about awesome-yet-unfortunately cancelled shows, starting with Freaks and Geeks.

♥ More shameless self promotion, my second article about Querying an Agent is up on the Ricochet blog

♥ Any Australian book bloggers should join the Australian Book Blogger Directory.

♥ Naomi of inkcrush does a great comparison of international covers of Jaclyn Moriarty's books (which I love!)

♥ A really lovely post from Lauren at I Was A Teenage Book Geek about reading Roahl Dahl and remembering her father.

How YA Lit will save the world

♥ Winner of the 2009 Text Prize, Leanne Hall interviews David Levithan in song (I think my favourite number  is That John Green - surprise, surprise)

Hope everyone is enjoying their week!

Monday, June 14, 2010

By My Bedside #10

By My Bedside is part of In My Mailbox - a weekly book meme, created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Another short-stack this week - between three jobs I'm working pretty much six days a week, so my reading time has been reduced (though I do get quite a bit done when I'm not falling sleep on the train and bus ride). Also please ignore the background rubbish in the photo - I swear I don't usually live in such mess.

I'd tell you I love you, but then I'd have to kill you - Ally Carter
Loathing Lola - William Kostakis
Drawing With Light - Julia Green
Wherever Nina Lies - Lynn Weingarten

The Gallagher Girls book is on-loan from my boss, the others are from my local library.

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The King of Whatever

The Facts

Author: Kirsten Murphy
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date: 2005
Length: 286 pages

The Fiction

"You're serious. I'm so sorry. I really thought you were joking"

He hadn't been joking but he was Joe King and it was obvious, as far as he was concerned, that that was where all of his troubles had begun.

Joe King is in his final year of high school and has no idea of what he wants to do with his life. Unfortunately, he comes from a family of high achieving siblings, who have set an almost impossible standard of perfect grades and prestigious university courses. He’s also been turned down by the girl of his dreams, had a fight with his best mate and struggling to keep up his creative excuses for tardiness.

I loved the character of Joe – whilst he isn’t necessarily your typical go-getting teen protagonist, he is very engaging. Murphy does a fantastic job capturing Joe’s natural charm and the generally irreverent tone of teenage boys. Joe is a bit of a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none” and an all-round nice guy (which was quite refreshing), and I found the issues he deals with are very relatable to teens - especially those in their final years of high school. The relationship between Joe and his father, as well as that of Joe and his brother, Anthony, were both realistic and well-developed.

Whilst the plot is fairly simple and is predominantly internally motivated, it is the character of Joe which really keeps you reading – you genuinely want to see him succeed and to how he will deal with the upcoming decisions he must eventually face.

This was the kind of book I've probably often overlooked at my local library. I'm so glad I picked it up The King of Whatever this time and gave it a chance, as I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was so much I could identify with, as I'm sure many teens could, like Joe's uncertainty about his future, being unsure of your place in the world and even the fact he works at the same supermarket chain I used to. I also really liked the fact Murphy ultimately shows that it's alright to not know what kind of career or studies that you want to pursue, and touches on the realities of life as an undergraduate through Joe's brother, Anthony. A funny, honest and enjoyable read.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mixed Bag #5

Another week, another post of linky goodness from some of my favourite blogs.

Upcoming Book to Film Adaptations - 15 books to read before they hit the big screen. I've got to say, I'm pretty excited for Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

♥ Speaking of adaptations, new official Eclipse stills released, much to the excitement of Twi-fans. All I will say is damn, Jasper again got screwed over by the wig department. So did Alice. I think the good hair/make-up people must have left when Catherine Hardwicke did. Not that I really care about the films anyway, much .... I just like Jackson Rathbone

Why True Blood kicks Twilight's Ass - I probably come off as kind of anti-Twilight, where as in reality I try to be 'ehh' about it. I am a fan of True Blood though (the show more than the books actually) and I think this article makes some great comparisons and well-rationed arguments (with some snark thrown in for good measure).

♥ Sara Sherpard talks about the TV adaptation of her series Pretty Little Liars. I'm intrigued - sounds a bit Heathers meets Gossip Girl.

Realistic Teens Ahoy! Adele at Persnickety Snark discusses the realistic portrayal of the teenage experience (particularly in regard to parental relationships and family dyanmics) on NBC's Parenthood. I hope Parenthood airs on Australian screens soon!

♥ Emily Goll writes about the best TV shows depiciting teenagers in a guest post on Hey! Teenager of the Year. A fantastic post and spot-on in my opinion (I'm a huge Freaks and Geeks fangirl and still feel it is one of the shows that best depicts my own experiences as a teen - though obviously I did not attend high school in the late 70s. I love the Weirs so freaking much!).

♥ For teen movie buffs and trivia junkies, ONTD has a Teen Movie Trivia post.

♥ I've written an article for the Ricochet blog, run by my uni friend Emily with some advice on querying an agent.

Hope everyone is enjoying their week!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Snack Size #3

I actually wrote these two weeks ago and found them sitting on my desktop - obviously I forgot to post them - whoops! Anyway, three tasty, teeny-tiny 100 word reviews:

Luna - Julie-Anne Peters
Published by Little, Brown 2004
256 pages

Luna is a sensitive and engaging story of a transsexual teen struggling with his two identities, as told through the eyes of his sixteen-year-old sister, Regan. As much as I was intrigued by Liam’s transition (something I’d never read about in YA before), I also really appreciated hearing things from Regan’s point of view, and being able to see how she balanced her personal life around Liam/Luna’s secret (and was happy that it was not only a story of Luna’s transformation, but Regan’s coming of age too). Peters captures family dynamics incredibly well and also incorporates excellent use of flashback. Luna is beautifully done and a compelling read.

AfterFrancine Prose
Published by HarperTeen for Harper Collins, 2003
336 pages

Following a shooting at a neighbouring school, Central High turns to extreme measures to ensure the security and safety of the school and it’s students, at any cost. Whilst Tom Bishop and his friends seem happy to go along with it all at first, they soon can’t ignore the fact that non-conforming students are disappearing, and even more repressive measures are put into place on a daily basis. Whilst Prose does a fantastic job at developing characters (yay for geeky girls who are also rebels) and building tensions, I was incredibly disappointed with After’s ending, which was vague and unsatisfying. Recommended for fans of The Chocolate War.

PoolJustin D’Ath
Published by Ford Street Publishing, 2007
297 pages
Pool is the story of seventeen-year-old Wolfgang and his summer working as an attendant at the local swimming pool, which reportedly has mystical healing properties. It is there he meets Audrey, a young blind woman, who may hold the key to mystery surrounding the New Lourdes pool. The relationship between Wolfgang and his elderly father, inflicted with Alzheimer’s, is also skilfully handled. I also loved the use of the recurring butterfly motif. Probably something I wouldn’t normally have picked up, but was very pleasantly surprised. Pool is a quite an understated and touching story, intriguing and slightly haunting.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pretty in Polyvore

Something a little different today. No 'By My Bedside' this week as I have nothing new to read - am instead catching up on some of the titles I have left over from the past couple of weeks. I'm feeling a bit uninspired with my reading and writing at the moment and really struggling to produce content that excites and interests me (I think it's largely due to my temp job which basically sucks the fun out of my day, and I come home and collapse on the couch). A few weeks ago I was playing around with Polyvore after having read Daniel Waters' Generation Dead (which is amazing and I promise to write about it soon), and made up my own Phoebe-esque ensemble. Fun ensued, and so I made a few photo boards based upon some of my favourite heroines  from YA fiction.

I actually had way more fun than I probably should have with these (it was the same sort of enjoyment I used to get from playing The Sims - I didn't care about the actual game, but I loved building and decorating Sim houses. Totally nerdy I know!). Please note, they are not mean't as affordable 'dress like this character' tutorials - they are all my own interpretation of the characters and are for entertainment purposes only.
Hope you enjoy!