Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to showcase upcoming books that you can't wait to read.

This week's selection is:

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
Expected Publication: August 20, 2011 by Henry Holt  Co.
Pages: 384
Genre: Science Fiction
Audience: YA

From Goodreads:
Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries. 

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

 Everyone except Jenna Fox.

I absolutely loved and was fascinated with The Adoration of Jenna Fox. I was ecstatic to discover that there would be a sequel. The synopsis of this upcoming book sounds like it might even be better than the first one. I am not usually a huge fan of science fiction, but Pearson's writing is so contemporary and not over anyone's head that it almost doesn't read like science fiction. This is definitely one of my highly anticipated 2011 releases! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors That Deserve More Recognition

This week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is:

The Top Ten Authors That Deserve More Recognition

I had a hard time coming up with ten because so many authors that I love have received Newbery or Printz honors so these were the authors on my list that I thought deserved more accolades.  I only have six.

1. Adam Rex
Not only is Rex a talented illustrator, but his writing is downright hilarious.  Listening to the audiobook of The True Meaning of Smekday was one of the most uproarious listening experiences of my life.  I am still constantly quoting a line from the book to my husband and friends and continue to giggle uncontrollably each time.  Seriously.  Check out his work.  You won't be disappointed.

2. Maryrose Wood
Maryrose writes middle-grade and YA lit, and even though I haven't read her YA books yet, if her middle-grade Incorrigibles series is indicative of her witty sense of humor in all her books, I'm so sold on reading the rest of her literary canon.

3. Michael Zadoorian
Zadoorian is a sentimental favorite of mine since he hails from Michigan, and his books are set here.  Not to mention that fact that I met him at my public library when he did a reading and discussion of his amazing book The Leisure Seeker.

4. Mitali Perkins
Not only is Mitali a beautiful person inside and out, but I love her mission as an author: to create entertaining and accessible multicultural literature to children and young adults. I'd have to say she is succeeding at this mission.  I love that the books she writes are contemporary fiction rather than strictly historical fiction.  So often we equate multicultural with historcal, but Perkins is trying to show that to build bridges of understanding, we need to see what its like for people in other cultures right now and not just back then.

5. Raina Telgemeier
Raina's most popular work as a graphic novelist is her recently published book called Smile, which is based on her own dental trauma as a pre-teen and teen.  What I love so much about this book is that despite the fact that the story's protagonist is a girl, boys in my class are passing this book around like they're baseball cards.  I love when books told by girls can be enjoyed by both genders.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

6. Alison Pace
Alison's books just make you feel good. They would most likely be classified as chick lit, but I love how she adds a warm and fuzzy element by including dogs in all of her books.  Not to mention the fact that two of her books (one set to be released in June) have pugs in the title.  As a lover and owner of pugs, I can say she won my heart immediately with just the titles (Pug Hill and A Pug's Tale).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  The books you share do not have to be ones you actually received in the mail.  They can be ones you bought at the book store, checked out at the library, or downloaded to your e-reader.  The idea is just to share what's on your TBR pile for the upcoming week.

For Review:
Shimmer by Alyson Noel


The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (This is a great deal right now.  Only $1.99!)

Library Loot:
Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, illustrated by Cyd Moore
Someday is Not a Day of the Week by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley

Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by Yan Naschimbene

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood: Audiobook Review

 Miss Penelope Lumley has shown quite a bit of success at civilizing the wolf-like children Lord Ashton has curiously claimed custody of.  However, after the disaster of Lady Constance's Christmas Ball which was caused by the dear Incorrigibles, the family has packed up and escaped to London while Aston Place undergoes renovations.

In London, Lady Constance looks forward to all the social engagements she will inevitably encounter, while Miss Lumley is excited to continue the children's education in such a civilized city.

But something foul is afoot in London and Miss Lumley is determined to figure out what it is with the help of a new friend, despite a stern warning from her former headmistress to stay out of trouble.  With that foreshadowing, the reader is sure to realize that the remainder of the book will be anything but Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles staying out of trouble.

This is the second book in the series, and it is equally as charming and full of belly laughs as the first one.  The book itself is entertaining enough, but when you add Katherine Kellgren's lively narration, you are in for one of the most perfectly entertaining audiobook experiences around.  The mark of a successful audiobook to me is when the narrator brings the story to life in such a way that it becomes even more enjoyable than it would have been if you had just read it.  That is exactly what Kellgren does with her animated, nimble character voices, almost on par with that of Jim Dale's voices in the Harry Potter audiobooks.

In addition to the pure joy of just listening to the fabulous narrator, this installment of the Incorrigibles' mystery brings to light Lord Ashton's very strange behavior, leading the reader to make some conclusions about why he was so insistent about keeping the Incorrigibles in the first place (but we won't find out the true answer until book 3).  We also have a new storyline to contend with and guess as to how it will manifest itself in the third book: Miss Lumley's mysterious past and why her parents aren't in the picture.

The open-ended storylines will keep readers anticipating, guessing, and eagerly awaiting the final installment.  Not only am I looking forward to seeing how the story ends, but I'm also happy that I will be able to revisit all of the wonderfully eccentric characters once more.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
Published: February 2011 by Balzer & Bray
Audiobook Published:  February 2011 by Harper Audio
Pages: 240
Audiobook Length: 5 hours, 58 minutes
Genre: Mystery/Fantasy
Audience: Middle Grade

Thanks to Harper Audio for providing me with a copy of the audiobook.

Friday, March 25, 2011

But books are so... enjoyable. Certainly students can't be learning anything from sitting around reading them all day.

I've recently had a few people ask me, in rather accusing tones, something along the lines of, "How do you know that your kids are learning anything in reading workshop? I mean, all they're doing is reading books.  How are you teaching them any skills?"

Oh ye of little faith.  How you doubt the power of giving kids permission to choose their own reading material rather than having the teacher mandate and suck any sort of pleasure or life out of the act of reading.

So let me enlighten you doubting Thomases.

A few days ago,  I was reading one my 5th grader's literature journals.  She wrote me a letter (a frequent required assignment in my class) about a book I had just finished reading aloud and to my shock and awe, I noticed that this quiet, shy, diminutive 5th grader used the word anti-climactic to describe the ending of said book.  Since when do 5th graders go around using the word anti-climactic? I think I had a difficult time with the concept of climax until I was in college! (I was slow to grasp abstract thought, what can I say?)

Then, I also had a group of 6th graders who were meeting in a literature circle (which was one of the few teacher-mandated reading experiences they've had this year) and one of them asked what genre the book was.  They discussed and debated whether it was a mystery or a science fiction because yes, there was something that needed to be solved, but it also had "elements of dystopia." (The book they were referring to was The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart).

I was both blown away and swelling with pride over these observations because these were not terms they learned in a textbook. This is just the way well-read students speak.  And when you give them the opportunity to read voluminously, they pick up the vernacular of an educated reader.

So you want to know how I know my kids are learning? I listen to them.

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop winner

I have been extremely remiss in announcing the winner of the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop.  So congrats to Shannon B.  She won a copy of The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to feature upcoming titles you're looking forward to reading.

This week's title I'm awaiting is:

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
Publish Date: May 10, 2011 by Egmont
Pages: 352
Genre: Realistic fiction
Audience: YA

From Goodreads:
In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she's decorating a cake. Unfortunately everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.

But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems - only her dad's about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

Why I'm eagerly awaiting this book's publication:
Most people seem to swoon over paranormal romance and dystopia lately.  My first love is and always has been realistic fiction.  I just love reading stories about things that could actually happen in real life because that way I don't pine for something that can't ever happen (ever being able to go to Hogwart's or fall in love with a sparkly vampire for instance).

This book's synopsis sounds like it's right up my alley.  It seems like there will be quite a bit of food-related plot lines, which is totally appealing to me - I am the Foodie Bibliophile afterall! :o)  Plus, I'm one who likes a good chick-lit story.  I mean, food and chick-lit?  Sounds like the perfect lazy-day read to me!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  The books you share do not have to be ones you actually received in the mail.  They can be ones you bought at the book store, checked out at the library, or downloaded to your e-reader.  The idea is just to share what's on your TBR pile for the upcoming week.

The most exciting thing that came in my mailbox this week actually isn't for me.  I've been pushing and fighting to get e-readers back into our school because of the success that so many students have had with them since I started allowing them in my classroom back in January.  They were allowed for a while, and then they were banned because some people were concerned they were creating a "haves" and "have-nots" situation.  I argued my case that most of the students in my class who don't have their own e-readers don't really want them anyway because they like regular books better and my classroom coupled with our school library has tons of books from which to choose, so it's not like the kids who don't have e-readers are being denied reading material.

I personally could live without an e-reader.  I love the geography of a real book.  Flipping through the pages, being able to visually see how much farther I have until I'm finished.

But, I'm also someone who will push for a kid to read a book in any way that motivates them to read.  So if I have a handful of kids in my class who prefer to read on a Kindle, then I'm going to let them read on a Kindle.

So a compromise was made to let e-readers back in the building.  Our school purchased 5 Nooks:

And I am in charge of keeping track of them and checking them out to students.  Even though I have never been a huge fan of e-readers myself, I'm excited about the possibilities for motivating more students with these.  And I'm also excited to try one out for myself.  I mean, I can't expect to be in charge of the Nooks if I don't know how to use them myself! :o)

Library Loot:
Picture books:

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long
House of Dolls by Francesca Lia Block, illustrated by Barbara McClintock

Bunny Days by Tao Nyeu
LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris


Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

For Review:
Ghellow Road by T.H. Waters

How 'bout we thank teachers rather than bashing them?

 I have been quietly watching what's been going on in Wisconsin with the teachers' unions and have not been able to put in words my seething rage at how much the news media (FOX NEWS) has taken every opportunity possible to bash teachers, calling us greedy and lazy and undeserving of any sort of financial benefit for the job that we do.  My favorite (NOT!) soundbite was from someone (I don't even remember who he was I was so blinded with rage) who said that teachers only work part-time because we're done at 2:30.

I have never wanted to throw the remote at my TV as I did at that moment.  

So let me enlighten you Fox News and all you other teacher-haters.  Let me show you just how "part-time" my job is:
These are all the bags I brought home from work with me this weekend.  That's right.  I have four bags worth of work to do on my "weekends off." The brown bag in the back is full of 40 journals that I have to read through and grade.  The two Pearson bags flanking the navy bag are full of books that I will be using to plan my lessons for next week.  The navy bag in the middle is my school bag for the class I'm currently taking that I have to do my homework for - because teachers aren't allowed to just go to school, get a bachelor's degree and then sit on their rear-ends for the rest of their careers.  We actually have to continue our education for the rest of our working lives or the state will take our teaching certificates away. 

I admit that four bags is an excessive amount, even for me.  But I will tell you that on any given day, I am most often bringing two of those bags home on weeknights AND weekends.

My day does not end at 2:30 people.  No, if anything, I get home and it's only just begun.

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Ever Insulted the Teaching Profession
I am someone who tailors each child's learning experience to accommodate their needs.
I am not a glorified babysitter.

I am constantly planning lessons, grading papers, taking classes, meeting with parents, adjusting curriculum for special needs students and doing professional development in order to keep my certificate current.
I am not sitting on my behind during evenings, weekends, holidays, and summers eating bon bons. 

I am frequently buying supplies and books for my classroom to make sure my students have what they need to succeed.
I am not hoarding that "cushy" salary on cars, jewelry, and a second home in the Hamptons. 

I am only asking that you treat me with the respect, dignity, and compensation I deserve for having to go above and beyond to make sure my students succeed.
I am not a professional athlete or television actor asking for $10 million a season.

I am one in a room full of twenty to thirty (or more!) children and am expected to meet the needs of each one of those unique individuals. 
I am not an omnipresent being, able to see everything and be everywhere at once (yet people expect me to be).

I am at my job by 7:00 and I leave my job by 3:30.
I am not done with my day when I get home.  I still have papers to grade, lessons to plan, and emails to answer.

I am working a life-consuming career, dedicated to giving the best for her students.
I am not working a part-time job.

I am so sorry if it offends you that my only time off all year is the three months during the summer.
I am not sorry for basking in that time off given the inhuman amount of work I do from September to June.

Yet with all that I am, and all that I'm not, you still seem to think that my job is a breeze.
Reducing it down to mere soundbites and fodder for pundits. 
Saying that teachers are greedy.
That our job is easy.
That we don't deserve all the lavish benefits we are given.

If a teacher's job is treated with such disgust and abhorrence
Just how are our children ever going to benefit from being in school at all?
How are we going to lure worthwhile individuals to the field
If all the media and politicians do is tear us down treat us like the lowest caste of society?

If teaching is such an easy job, let me ask you this:
Why do half of all new teachers leave within the first five years?
It's sure not because we're overwhelmed with all the money we're raking in. 

Wither by Lauren DeStefano: ARC review

From Goodreads:
What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

This book stayed off my radar for quite some time.  I noticed lots of book blogs talking about it, but it didn't seem like a story that would interest me.  And truth be told, I judged the book by its cover and felt like it would be a dystopia that was all fluff and no substance.   

Oh how wrong I was.

I was wrong about so much when it came to my initial judgment of this book.  

In addition to making incorrect assumptions about the quality of the writing, I also assumed as I began to read that most of the characters in this book would be antagonistic toward Rhine.  I guessed that Linden would be a jerk of a husband and that the sister wives would be unbearable to live with.  

So I guess what I'm saying is that Lauren DeStafano does an amazing job at subverting assumptions.  You look at the cover of this book with the fluffy dress and the fluffy hair and assume that the book is going to be less about the writing and more about the swoon-worthiness of the story.  You assume that the characters will be simple rather than complex.  You assume, you assume, you assume.  

But then just about every assumption gets completely crushed to bits.  

And you know what?  I LOVED that!  I loved that I had no idea what was going to happen next and that I was always guessing.  I loved that all of the characters (except for Vaughn) had something redeeming about them, because your initial reaction at the beginning is that the conflict will be Rhine vs. everyone else.  

This story is so much more complex than that.  And the complexity is what keeps you reading.  

And let me just say how much I love the name Rhine for a female protagonist.  I never would have thought of Rhine as being a female name but now that I've heard it, if I ever have a daughter, I might consider that for a baby name.  Just like the name Isabella exploded after Twilight came out, I wonder if the same thing will happen with Rhine.   

Cover comments: Though I think the cover is stunning and I personally love this new trend of beautiful girls in pretty dresses, I think some of these books with glamorous covers are preventing guys from becoming interested in possibly reading them.  Don't get me wrong, I think a lot of pretty dress covers are books that most guys wouldn't pick up anyway, but Wither is a book that I think guys would enjoy if it had been marketed differently.  This does not strike me as a "girly" story,  and yet the cover has lumped it into the category of chick lit with one sweeping move of a beautiful model in a frilly dress

I look at The Hunger Games series which has a female protagonist and could have easily been targeted only toward females, but the simple black and gold cover prevented gender stereotyping, and now you have boys as well as girls reading the books in droves. I'm thinking Wither could have been a book that was of interest to both genders had they created a more gender neutral cover.  

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree?  Disagree?
Regardless of the cover, I thought this was an amazing debut for this brilliant new YA author.  I hope to be reading her books for years to come!

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Publish Date: March 22, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 356
Genre: Dystopia
Audience: YA

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lucky Leprechaun Blog Hop

Thank you to Books Complete Me and I Am A Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this great blog hop!

This is my offering for this blog hop:

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson
Published: August 2010 by Harmony
Pages: 288
Audience: Adult grammar lovers

Description from Goodreads:
The world needed a hero, but how would an editor with no off-switch answer the call? For Jeff Deck, the writing was literally on the wall: “NO TRESSPASSING.” In that moment, his greater purpose became clear.  Dark hordes of typos had descended upon civilization… and only he could wield the marker to defeat them.

Recruiting his friend Benjamin and other valiant companions, he created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL). Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park. Jeff and Benjamin championed the cause of clear communication, blogging about their adventures transforming horor into horror, it’s into its, and coconunut into coconut.

But at the Grand Canyon, they took one correction too far: fixing the bad grammar in a fake Native American watchtower.  The government charged them with defacing federal property  and summoned them to court—with a typo-ridden complaint that claimed that they had violated “criminal statues.” Now the press turned these paragons of punctuation into “grammar vigilantes,” airing errors about their errant errand..

The radiant dream of TEAL would not fade, though.   Beneath all those misspelled words and mislaid apostrophes, Jeff and Benjamin unearthed deeper dilemmas about education, race, history, and how we communicate. Ultimately their typo-hunting journey tells a larger story not just of proper punctuation but of the power of language and literacy—and the importance of always taking a second look.

Contest Rules:
  • Must be 13 years or older to enter
  • Open to U.S. residents only
  • You are not required to be a follower to enter but it is greatly appreciated
  • Starts March 17th, ends March 20th at 11:59 PM EST
How to enter:
Leave a comment explaining your biggest grammar pet peeve (don't forget to leave me your email so I can contact you if you win!)

In addition to the standard using the wrong version of there, their, they're or your and you're, my biggest grammar pet peeve is when grown adults write "would of" instead of would've or use possessives when they're supposed to use plurals. Drives me absolutely bonkers! :o)

Don't forget to visit all the other participating blogs:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Trailer: Shimmer by Alyson Noel

The latest book in the Riley Bloom series is out today:

Shimmer by Alyson Noël
Publish Date:  March 15, 2011 by Square Fish
Pages: 192
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Middle grade

From Goodreads:
Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

 Check out the trailer here:

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character's You'd Want as Family Members

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's  Top Ten List: The Top 10 Characters You Wish Were Members of Your Family

1. The Boatwright sisters from The Secret Life of Bees 

More specifically August Boatwright.  Talk about a lovely, nurturing motherly type.  I wouldn't mind her being in my family one bit.

2. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird 
Is there anyone more good and just in all of literature?  I think not.  I'd certainly want him to be my dad. 

3. The Weasleys from Harry Potter
They are delightfully eccentric.  Who cares if they're poor?  They're fun to be around. 

4. India Opal Buloni from Because of Winn-Dixie 
 Anyone who rescues a dog from being carted away to animal control and then names that dog after the grocery store she found him in is one sweet, fun-loving kid.  I think I'd like to hang out with her!

5. Moose Flanigan from Al Capone Does My Shirts 
Moose is a good kid and I always felt really bad for him the way his mom always made him be a third parent to his autistic sister Natalie.  If I were related to him I'd tell his mom to back off!

6. Julian Singh from The View from Saturday 
I loved how Julian embraced his weirdness and didn't care what others thought of him.  He marched to the beat of his own drum and encouraged others to follow along to his rhythm.

7. Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson
C'mon!  Who wouldn't love having this kid as their fun, flamboyant gay cousin?  He'd be so entertaining on holidays.

8. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games
Let's see... she took the place of her sister in the Capitol's gruesome fight to the death... and she won. (I'm assuming that you've probably already read the book so sorry for the spoiler) Yeah, I think I'd want her to be my sister!

9. Anna Oliphant from Anna and the French Kiss 
Clever, witty, and full of stories from Paris.  I'd definitely want to sit with her at the Thanksgiving dinner table - just tell her to bring St. Clair with her!

10. Mia Hall's entire family in If I Stay
OK, so I know that Mia's entire family dies in the first few pages of the book, but the entire time I was reading this book, all I could think about was how absolutely cool her family was and how much I wished I had parents like hers.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman: ARC Review

*Warning: if you haven't read If I Stay yet, you might want to skip reading this review*

Of all the books to come out in 2011, Where She Went is probably the one I have been coveting the most.  I vividly remember sitting in my bed three years ago, reading If I Stay with a box of tissues, and a major headache from all the crying I did, yet loving every minute of Gayle Forman's masterful story-telling and characterization.  I can't even tell you how real these characters seem to me.  So real in fact that I finished this book before bed last night and proceeded to have a dream about Adam.

Oh Adam, your angsty, rock-star persona would be the type of fodder tabloids and TMZ thrive on in real life.  If you were a real rock star, I'd probably think you were an entitled, whiny jerk.  I'd dismiss you as a selfish bastard with too much money and not enough sincerity for your fans and bandmates.

In fact, that's how I felt about him at the beginning of this story.  Having experienced the first book from Mia's point of view, Adam is now the narrator in this second installment as we learn about what has happened in the lives of Mia and Adam since she chose to live.  His rock star mentality is quite off-putting at first: elusive, entitled, and unable to deal with the realities of life without some sort of chemical aid to get him by. However, as Adam continues to narrate the story his voice sounds less whiny and angsty, and more filled with pain at the knowledge of Mia leaving him without so much as an explanation.

So when a chance encounter in New York City brings Mia and Adam back together for one night, we are all dying to know, along with Adam, why Mia chose to stay, and then proceeded to leave the very person who stood by her side through the horrible tragedy of losing her family, and also the long road to recovery that she had to endure when she awakened from her coma. 

In the beginning, I feared that these two characters that I so adored in the first book had become unlikable and difficult to empathize with in this sequel.  But as the book continued and the layers of guilt and pain finally began to reveal themselves, I realized that both of them just did a really bad job of communicating that pain.  This night in NYC together was a way for them to finally come to terms with what really happened and what they were really feeling as a result.

I would love to say more but I don't want to give too much away.  There is nowhere near the same level of emotion in this book as the first book, but that doesn't mean you won't be needing the tissue box at hand.  Rather than an entire book of Kleenex-driven moments like the first book, however, there is really only one scene in this book that will leave you teary-eyed and it is probably the best scene in the whole book .

And, as usual, when the book ended, I was left mourning the loss of Mia and Adam once again.  I didn't want the book to end because when it did, that meant I had to leave their world and return to my own.  I want and crave for them to be real because I have invested so much emotional memory to their story.  Ms. Forman, I don't know how it would be possible to continue their story, but I think fans for your books would be more than willing to see this turn into a trilogy.  What do you say? 

Check out Gayle Forman's tour of some of the places Mia and Adam visit in the book:

And here is the book trailer:

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Publish Date: April 5, 2011 by Dutton
Pages: 262
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: YA

*Thank you to Audrey at Holes in My Brain for providing me with a copy of the ARC!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  The books you share do not have to be ones you actually received in the mail.  They can be ones you bought at the book store, checked out at the library, or downloaded to your e-reader.  The idea is just to share what's on your TBR pile for the upcoming week.

I'm so excited about the books I received this week.

One of the most anticipated books of 2011 for me is this adorable book:

A Pug's Tale by Alison Pace
This is the sequel to the adorable Pug Hill, and as a pug owner and pug lover, I am giddy with glee at the prospect of reading this one!
Yet another book I am giddy to read is...

I won the ARC of this beauty from Audrey over at Holes in My Brain.  I have been coveting this ARC for the longest time and can't tell you how thrilled I am to finally have gotten my hands on it!  I'm only about 70 pages from finishing and it is sooooooo good!

From Harper Children's audio, I was excited to receive the audio books of:

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

As someone with a very long commute to work, audio books are my godsend.  I already read Delirium a few months ago and loved it, so I'm really looking forward to listening to the audio version.  And last year at this time, I listened to the audio version of the first book in the Incorrigibles series and I absolutely loved Kathrine Kellgren's narration of the story.  So I was extremely excited to see that she was still narrating this next installment of the series.

Dowloaded from NetGalley:
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
I am so excited to read this middle grade version of The Art of Racing in the Rain which is one of my favorite books of all time.  

Library Loot:


Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? by Ina Garten

Audio book:

Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
Picture books:

Animal Colors: A Rainbow of Colors from Animals Around the World by Beth Fielding
The Life of Rice: From Seedling to Supper by Richard Sobol

Mirror by Jeannie Baker
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel


Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale