It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 2/17/20

Happy President’s Day!

This week I’m going to read an unsettling book, a classic, a graphic novel that I picked up at ALA in Philly, and a book that I purchased last week.

What are you reading?

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My Dark Vanessa- Kate Elizabeth Russell

44890081Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of RoomMy Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

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The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

1191522The Outsiders is a book that delves deep into the hearts, minds, and stories of a group that had no voice before S. E. Hinton gave them one. She began writing the book at age 15, spurred on by the disturbing trend she saw growing in her high school towards a division between groups. “I was worried and angered by the social situation,” Hinton writes. “I saw two groups at the extreme ends of the social scale behaving in an idiotic fashion — one group was being condemned and one wasn’t…. When a friend of mine was beaten up for no other reason than that some people didn’t like the way he combed his hair, I took my anger out by writing about it.”

Thirty years after it was first published, The Outsiders still carries the same frightening and unifying messages for teens (and readers of all ages). The ruthlessly realistic and violent story of the Greasers and the Socs, rival gangs from very different sides of the railroad tracks, is narrated by Ponyboy Curtis, a smart, sensitive kid who has grown to become one of the most recognizable figures in the history of young adult literature. Any teen who has ever felt isolated or different can identify with Ponyboy, a kid forced to be tough on the outside, but who underneath is just as scared and needy as anyone. Hinton herself has said that she has never written a character as close to her own self as Ponyboy is. Young Adult fiction was shaped and defined by Susan Eloise Hinton, and the realism she attached to the genre became the norm, enabling later writers like Robert Cormier and Judy Blume to find characters and voices that actually spoke to adolescents. Since 1967, Ponyboy has become the hero for countless teenagers nationwide as The Outsiders stands to influence an entirely new legion of adolescents who need Ponyboy as much as ever.

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Gotham High- Melissa de la Cruz

51135390. sx318 sy475 From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex and Eliza and The Witches of East Endcomes a reimagining of Gotham for a new generation of readers. Before they became Batman, Catwoman, and The Joker, Bruce, Selina, and Jack were high schoolers who would do whatever it took–even destroy the ones they love–to satisfy their own motives.

After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.

When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect.

With enchanting art by Thomas Pitilli, this new graphic novel is just as intoxicating as it is chilling, in which dearest friends turn into greatest enemies–all within the hallways of Gotham High!

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Cracked Up To Be- Courtney Summers

45046784When “Perfect” Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter’s High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher’s pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?

Parker doesn’t want to talk about it. She’d just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there’s a nice guy falling in love with her and he’s making her feel things again when she’d really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she’d turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.

Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.

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*Nerd Blast & Giveaway* Pippa Park Raises Her Game- Erin Yun

Pippa

*Click on the banner image above to find out more about this release*

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SYNOPSIS

 

Pippa Park Raises Her GameA Contemporary Reimagining of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for Middle Graders

Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look. So when Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself by following the “Rules of Cool.”

At Lakeview, Pippa juggles old and new friends, an unrequited crush, and the pressure to perform academically and athletically while keeping her past and her family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates. But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened.

As things begin to spiral out of control, Pippa discovers the real reason she was admitted to Lakeview and wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.

BONUS CONTENT
Author Q&A and Discussion Questions included in the book.

A Contemporary Reimagining of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for Middle Graders
Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look. So when Pippa gets a surprising basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself.At Lakeview, Pippa struggles with popularity and the pressure to perform academically and athletically while keeping her past and family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates. Juggling jealous Queen Bees, old and new friends, her own place at Lakeview, and an unrequited crush on the school’s most handsome— and most haughty— 8th grader is hard enough. But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media that threaten to unmask her carefully built persona, things begin to spiral out of control.
With pressure mounting, Pippa discovers the real reason she was admitted to Lakeview Private, and wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.

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Praise for PIPPA PARK RAISES HER GAME

“An empowering celebration of identity, friendship, and embracing one’s roots, Yun’s loose reimagining of Great Expectations follows a first-generation Korean-American girl learning to navigate her new life at an elite private school…. author Yun writes of Korean-American family life with heartwarming, authentic detail…” —Publishers Weekly December 1st issue

“Pippa is a magnetic heroine, funny and good-hearted, and young readers will relate as she makes one honest mistake after another in an effort to fit in. A nice balancing act between sports action, middle-school drama, and the struggles of an underprivileged immigrant family that will appeal to a wide audience.” —Booklist November 1st issue

“In this reimagining of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, familiar themes and predictability are offset by the depiction of Korean culture and language, which add texture and depth to the narrative. Readers will sympathize with this likable heroine as she struggles to succeed. VERDICT An enjoyable read with a buoyant contemporary twist on an old classic.” —School Library Journal November 1st issue

“This is a highly engaging and relevant title for schools that takes up issues of social class, ethnic identity, and the venture of staying true to oneself which will lend itself well to educators and parents looking to support growth in today’s tweens. Highly Recommended.” —School Library Connection March 2020 issue

“In Erin Yun’s enchanting Pippa Park Raises Her Game, a girl starts a new school and tries to reinvent her image… an exciting middle grade novel about middle school struggles and feeling out of place.” —Foreword Reviews March 2020 issue

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Giveaway:

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

– 5 Winners will receive the PIPPA PARK RAISES HER GAME  Swag (Book, Sticker, Bookmark, and Basketball Stress Ball) by Erin Yun.

Swag Giveaway Banner

Click on the image below to enter. Good Luck!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Erin YunDebut author Erin Yun grew up in Frisco, Texas. She received her BFA in English from New York University and served as president of its policy debate team. This experience came in handy for her job as the debate consultant for the Tony-nominated Best Play on Broadway—What the Constitution Means to Me. Erin is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and has written reviews and articles for BookBrowse. She currently lives in New York City, and yes—she used to play basketball as a middle grader!

 
PHOTO CONTENT FROM ERIN YUN

WEBSITE: https://pippapark.com/product/pippa-park-raises-her-game
TWITTER: 
@ErinMYun  
GOODREADS: 
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18860197.Erin_Yun

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Thank you, Jean and Erin, for allowing us to share this amazing book with other readers!!

If you want to find out more information about this book and other upcoming titles, please click on the button below.

Happy Reading!!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/22/19

This week I’m hoping to read a book for a book club, two arcs that I’ve had for over a year, a graphic novel, a novella, and a book a friend sent me. Fingers crossed for a busy reading week!

What are you reading?

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This is Where it Ends- Marieke Nijkamp

2452912310:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

 

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Small Spaces- Katherine Arden

36959639. sy475 Bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

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When Life Gives You Demons- Jennifer Honeybourn

35795953. sy475 Sixteen-year-old Shelby Black has spent the past year training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy—a Catholic priest and Shelby’s guardian—believes she has a gift for expelling demons, and he’s put her through exorcist boot camp hell, but he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.

High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity quiet, especially from Spencer, her cute math tutor. Secrets run in Shelby’s family, though: her mother has been missing ever since an exorcism went horribly wrong, and Uncle Roy is tight-lipped about it. But Shelby’s hell-bent on finding her mom, no matter what—even if what it ends up costing her her soul AND a date with Spencer.

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The Prince and The Dressmaker- Jen Wang

34506912Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

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Grim Lovelies- Megan Shepherd

37570566Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.

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The Lost Sisters- Holly Black

42117575. sy475 Sometimes the difference between a love story and a horror story is where the ending comes

While Jude fought for power in the Court of Elfhame against the cruel Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn began to fall in love with the trickster, Locke.

Half-apology and half-explanation, it turns out that Taryn has some secrets of her own to reveal.

The Lost Sisters is a companion e-novella to the New York Timesbestselling novel The Cruel Prince, by master writer Holly Black.

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday! 3/5/19

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is: Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With

  1. Jude- The Wicked King by Holly Black
  2. Donatella Dragna- Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  3. Brynn Hilder- The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons
  4. Scarlett Copeland- Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
  5. Noah Oakman- The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold
  6. Brooklyn Stevens- The Merciless by Danielle Vega
  7. Marla Singer- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  8. Hannah- Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
  9. Quincy Carpenter- The Final Girls by Riley Sager
  10. Emika Chen- Warcross by Marie Lu

Which characters made your list?

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*Arc Review* That’s Not What I Heard- Stephanie Kate Strohm

39983680    What did you hear?

Kimberly Landis-Lilley and Teddy Lin are over. Yes, the Kim and Teddy broke up.

At least that’s what Phil Spooner thinks he overheard and then told Jess Howard, Kim’s best friend. Something about Teddy not liking Kim’s Instas? Or was it that Teddy is moving to Italy and didn’t want to do long distance? Or that Kim slid into someone else’s DMs?

Jess told her boyfriend, Elvis, that he needs to be on Kim’s side. Especially if he wants to keep her as his girlfriend. But Elvis is also Teddy’s best friend.

Now, Kim’s run out of school for the day. Jess is furious. Elvis is confused. And half the lunch period won’t talk to Teddy. Even the teachers have taken sides.

William Henry Harrison High will never be the same again!

My Review:

“But maybe that was part of saying goodbye- you were never really ready.”

William Henry Harrison High is in total disarray. The “IT” couple has split up and everyone is losing their minds. But how did it happen? And why? I’ve heard that it was…. and she heard it was because….. As rumors start to fly and people start taking sides, will the school will never get back on track?

This book is the high school version of the telephone game. Someone tells a secret and it spreads to someone else with something else added to it and by the time it comes back to you, it’s not even what you said. That game is this book.

It was an interesting concept but kind of dull. I was hoping for more laugh out loud moments instead of eye-rolling hijinks. Some of the characters were quirky and absolutely hilarious, while others were just painful. I’m also kind of confused at why the entire school cared that two people broke up? It’s just a high school relationship, move on with your day!

Teens/tweens will resonate with this and enjoy the banter between the many points of view. As an adult, I found it exhausting. It just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you hear.

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