Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review: Leaving Paradise by the wonderful Simone Elkeles

Hey there! I've found another fabulous read for you all. Well, maybe I should say you all found it since this was your winning pick in my last poll.

the info:

Leaving Paradise

by Simone Elkeles

ISBN: 9780738710181

Flux Books

from the author's site:

CALEB: I’m happy to be going home after a year of being locked in a juvenile corrections facility for over a year for a hit and run drunk driving accident. But if I’m so happy about it, why am I feeling so anxious? Facing my parents will be rough. I also have to start my senior year of high school and face the kids at school and friends who ditched me after I got arrested. The worst part is that Maggie Armstrong is my next door neighbor.
Who’s Maggie Armstrong? Oh, she’s the girl I went to jail for maiming. I’m reminded of my mistake every day of my life because of her. Life just isn’t fair.

MAGGIE: I can’t believe Caleb Becker is being released early. I planned on going to Spain for my last semester of junior year so I could avoid facing him. But my plans get screwed up because Caleb is released from juvenile jail early. It totally upsets me that my life has been turned upside down because of the accident and Caleb returns and seems to jump right back in where he left off. Life isn’t fair and I hate Caleb with all my soul. But how can I stay away from my nemesis when he’s everywhere I go? I’m reminded how much my life changed every day of my life because of him. Life just isn’t fair.

my thoughts:

Wow, just wow! Simone Elkeles takes a very difficult story and tells it in such a wonderful way. I found the build-up of Caleb's and Maggie's relationship to be very believable. They found themselves outsiders where they were once comfortable. Circumstance brings them together and soon they find that the only person they trust is the one person they should avoid.

I warn you now, the ending is more realistic than happy, however, there is a sequel on the way. Yay! for sequels. I'm seriously looking forward to it. No info on it just yet, but it's coming.

This is a book you need to read. I love it! And I'm immediately adding everything else by Simone Elkeles to my TBR.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CONTEST!!!! Win a Copy of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson!

Hello again my lovely readers!

I blogged about Maureen Johnson's Suite Scarlett in the past. Well now I'm giving it away. Well, not me personally, I'm just providing my blog to help get the word out. :) Here's some info about the book to whet your appetite.

When Scarlett Martin turns fifteen she is put in charge of the Empire Suite, one of the rooms in her family’s hotel. Enter Mrs. Amberson, an aging C-list starlet who decides to employ Scarlett. Soon, she is taking dictation, running around New York City, and getting caught up in Mrs. Amberson’s crazy adventures. In the midst of it all, Scarlett falls in love–or so she thinks–and it takes Mrs. Amberson to help her see the light.

More info on this book and others can be found at Maureen Johnson's website: http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/

And if you don't already follow Maureen Johnson on Twitter, I highly recommend doing so. That was what got me interested in her books in the first place.

Now I suppose you're wondering how you get in on this action. All you've got to do is join the Want My YA Yahoo discussion group. You can sign up in the sidebar or you can visit the website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wantmyya
Already a member of the group? Then you're already entered. The contest runs until July 6th at which point with the help of a random number generator I will select 5 lucky winners to receive a copy of Suite Scarlett. So be sure to join, and tell your friends to join too.
Please note that is contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Thank you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I've been curious about The Forest of Hands and Teeth since before its release. I've heard so many great things about this book from so many people. When Forest was selected as the June selection for the YAedge Book Club it was just the excuse I'd been looking for.

the info:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

by Carrie Ryan


Delacorte Press

ISBN: 9780385736817

the story (from author's website):

In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

my thoughts:

There are so many good things to say about Carrie Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth. The story is a very original one. The characters absolutely come to life. Every moment I spent reading was a moment when I felt like I was there. Mary's emotions came through so clearly. This is definitely a book you have to read for yourself.

I'm also very excited that there will be two more books coming out. I wasn't sure how I felt about the ending at first, but once I heard there was more coming, well, that made everything better.

I guess what I'm saying is add my voice to the crowd singing Carrie Ryan's praises. :) The Forest of Hands and Teeth is an excellent read and one you need to pick up today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Recommend Wednesday - I Need Your Questions

Hello again readers!

It's Wednesday which means it's your turn to come up with something to talk about. :) Actually, I already have an assignment for you. You may be aware that on Mondays when possible I post author interviews. Well, I've come up with soemthing to do on those Mondays when I do not have an author interview to post. I would like to start doing interviews with you, the reader (and this includes authors wearing their reader hats).

What I need from you is questions. What do want to ask other readers of YA fiction? What do you think is an interesting tid-bit of information to learn from someone? Help me out here. :) Please?

And if you're a reader who would like to be interviewed send me an email at wantmyya at gmail dot com. Once I have a good selection of questions I'll send them on to you.

Thanks for stopping by. Without you there would be no reason to have this blog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Contest! Serena's Giving it Away!

Hey all!

I just heard about a contest being run by author Serena Robar, author of Giving Up the V. Here's the info on the contest:

Giving It Away For Free

(the only time Momma would approve)

Serena Robar is giving it away for free the entire month of June. That’s right. A book a day, every day in honor of her latest book release Giving Up the V. All you have to do to is sign up for her newsletter and you are entered to win. Enter once and you are in the running to win a book every day the entire month of June.

And because I'm not talented enough to turn the word newsletter into a link I'm just gonna post the URL to Serena's page and you can join her newsletter from there.

For those of you interested in Serena's book Giving Up the V here's some info on that as well.

What's So Wrong With Waiting?

Spencer Davis just turned sixteen. But unlike most hormonal teenagers who seem obsessed with sex -- like her entire crew of friends -- Spencer just doesn't get it. She'd rather wait for the right guy and the right moment. But that moment may be arriving sooner than she'd thought.
Enter Benjamin Hopkins, a new transfer student who seems to have his eyes on our V-card-carrying heroine. He's gorgeous, funny, suave, athletic, and capable of making Spencer's knees wobble with a single glance. Spencer has never felt this way about anyone before, but is Ben truly V-worthy?

Personally, I'm intrigued. :) I'll have to check it out tomorrow when I get to work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Author Interview: Simone Elkeles author of many fabulous books including Perfect Chemistry and the upcoming How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation

Hey all!
I've got another fabulous author interview for you. This one is especially fun for me because I've actually met this lovely lady in person. :) So, without any further delay, here's Simone Elkeles...

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Chicago in 1970. My father was Israeli and my mom was American. I have an older sister who I used to worship and copy everything she did. I loved to dance when I was a kid, and took ballet and jazz (ballet was definitely my first love). I also loved to play tennis, and still love to play although I don’t get much time for it. I was always laughing and making jokes as a kid, and I’m still a total jokester. I get people to laugh by saying ridiculous and outrageous things to shock them. If you hear people laughing, I’m usually not far away. I currently live in a suburb of Chicago with my family and dogs, and I’m a total hockey mom and Girl Scout leader.

What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

I started writing adult novels, but I had trouble selling them. When I started my first young adult novel, it just “clicked” and the words flew onto the page. Once I started writing YA, I couldn’t stop. I knew I’d found my “voice” in YA and I’m here to stay.

Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

I have a comedy series about a girl with an attitude from Chicago. The first one is How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, the second is How to Ruin my Teenage Life, and the third one is coming out this October – How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation. There’s always romances in my book, so it’s about how my character deals with having a boyfriend who is very different from her. She makes every mistake possible, and I love that about her. Writing her is so much fun, and I hope my fans love it, too!

Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I have a vague idea what’s going to happen, but I have no clue how it’s going to happen. I don’t plot or outline (I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for me), so I just write Chapter 1…and see what happens from there. I surprise myself a lot, because I don’t have an outline telling me what’s going to happen next.

Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Really? Authors tell you that? I’d be afraid someone would put me away if I said that I actually heard my characters. I have to say I’m pretty happy they don’t talk to me, but when I’m writing and I think something is going to happen, sometimes another thought gets in my head of where my character would go/do next and I change what I thought would happen. I wanted Leaving Paradise to end differently than it did, but I thought doing what I wanted wasn’t realistic at that point in the story. I am so happy to have the sequel come out, so I can write the ending I always wanted!

Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

I like all of my characters for different reasons. I love Alex and Brittany in Perfect Chemistry for taking care of their siblings the best way they know how. I love Amy in the How to Ruin series for entertaining me (she’s hilarious!) and Avi for being the tough guy who can change because he’s fallen in love. And I love Maggie and Caleb in Leaving Paradise for falling in love with each other despite the odds against them. Their love made both of them stronger people, and I love that.

What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I love to knit (it’s very relaxing), spend time with my kids, and watch reality television (I hate to admit it, but I’m a reality show junkie. I’d rather write fiction than watch it.).

If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

I have absolutely no clue. My mind is a blank on this one.

Where can readers find you online?


Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

I would love to know if teens want to read serious books or comedies.

Thanks so much Simone for providing such great interview responses for me. :) It was great having you here. And also a big thanks to the readers who stopped by today. Make sure you leave a comment answering Simone's question. (and please vote in my poll, tell me what you want me to review next)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Look What I Bought Now

Hello again my darling readers!

I forgot to do a "Look what I got" post last week which means that this one actually covers two weeks worth of books. Which means I have a lot of books to show you so here we go:

I bought:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

by Carrie Ryan


Delacorte Press

ISBN: 9780385736817

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

by E. Lockhart





The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins



ISBN: 9780439023481

Sisters of Misery

by Megan Kelley Hall



ISBN: 9780758226792

ARC's from work:

These are different than receiving review copies because these are books that were sent either to me or to the store in general so that as booksellers we will recommend them to our customers; these generally come direct from the publisher rather than the author.

My Soul to Take

by Rachel Vincent


Harlequin Teen

ISBN: 9780373210039


by Gena Showalter


Harlequin Teen

ISBN: 97803732100022

And here's the one I know you're all jealous of. :)

Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins



ISBN: 9780439023498

I'm so excited to have all of these books. Look for reviews of at least some of these titles coming as soon as I can get them read. Those that don't get read/reviewed right away will probably find their way into one of my polls so you can tell me how quickly I should read it. :)

So what's new for you? What YA titles have you purchased recently and what are you looking forward to buying in the coming months?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's supposed to be You Recommend Wednesday but...

I heard about a group that's looking for donations of YA and other books, so I decided to blog about that instead. It's the Color Online Summer Book Drive, they need help building the library they run in connection with their local non-profit, Alternatives for Girls.

They have a wishlist up at Powell's Books. https://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/wishlist?email=cora_litgroup@yahoo.com&list=Color%20Online

They will also accept gently used books and you can send those directly via Media mail rate here:


And here's the link to the original blog post:

Donate if you can, otherwise spread the word! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Interview: Beth Fantaskey - author of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Hey there readers! On this fabulous Monday I have paranormal YA author Beth Fantaskey here as my interview guest.

Check out what she has to say:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in a very small town in Pennsylvania – kind of like the one in Jessica’s Guide … I’m married with two crazy little kids… I sometimes teach college… and right now, in my spare time, I’m trying to train for a half-triathlon thing, with a bunch of other women – although it’s only two months away and I STILL can’t swim, so that’s not very promising!

2. What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

I’ve been writing my entire professional life, first as a political speechwriter, then as a freelance journalist. I decided to try fiction a few years ago, and sold a few short stories, which encouraged me to try a novel. The character of Jessica brought me to YA. I didn’t really know that YA was such a specific genre. I just knew that I wanted to tell a story about a teenage girl. I’m so glad I write for YA, though. It’s a really connected audience, and readers communicate with me a lot, which I really like.

3. Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

My first book, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, is about a very rational young woman who learns that her biological parents were vampire royalty who promised her, at birth, in marriage to a vampire prince. It’s about how she comes to grips with this very irrational truth about herself – and learns to love the arrogant, gorgeous vampire prince who comes to claim her on the eve of her senior year.

My upcoming release is called Jekel Loves Hyde, and it’s about two teenagers, Jill and Tristen, who gradually discover that they share a mysterious – and possibly dangerous – connection to the old novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s kind of dark, and funny and very romantic, with a paranormal twist.

4. Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

Half and half… I like to know where the story’s going, in the end, but I don’t follow a chapter-by-chapter outline. I like to have some freedom to create a new twist here and there.

5. Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Oh, yes, I definitely hear their voices, and they become like friends. It’s difficult, when a manuscript is done, to say good-bye – almost like a little grieving process. I’ll be walking around the house, not sure why I feel sad when I should be excited to have finished a big project. Then I remember, “Gee, I can’t hang out with Jess and Lucius, or Jill and Tristen, anymore.” Very strange. I’ve never argued with a character over plot, though!

6. Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Lucius will always have a special place in my heart. His voice, “opinions” and “emotions” were SO strong, as I wrote, and I became so empathetic to his emotional battles, that he will always be particularly special to me.

7. What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I have two things I consistently love – traveling and pushing physical boundaries, like with the triathlon. Beyond that, I’m one of those people who bounces from interest to interest. I spent a few years studying Mandarin Chinese, made it halfway to a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and most recently decided it was time to take horseback riding lessons. I’m kind of a dabbler.

8. If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

Wow… I have no idea. Writing’s all I’ve ever done. Even the teaching I do involves writing. I probably would have done something travel-related though. Anything that would let me get new stamps on my passport.

9. Where can readers find you online?
Bethfantaskey.com Please stop by!

10. Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

Although lots of people read YA (including myself!) this one’s for the core YA audience, in high school and junior high, because that’s where my novels are largely set. What is one thing you would change about your school experience, if you could?

Thanks so much, Beth for stopping by! :) It was great chatting with you. I know I'm looking forward to reading Jessica's Guide, and that new book sounds awesome! I will definitely have to keep my eye out for that one.