Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jordan Reads!

Hi Readers,

Here is another Carly Reads first – my first guest blog post!  Today I provide you with a review written by teen reader extraordinaire Jordan Brooks.  Jordan is a 15-year-old book lover whose favorite book is “Tricks” by Ellen Hopkins.  Jordan had the pleasure of meeting Ellen Hopkins at TBF 2010.  This year, she’s most looking forward to meeting Elizabeth Scott.  Says Jordan, “Elizabeth Scott’s books never get boring to me, and when I want a book, I know I can pick up one of hers and not be disappointed.”  So without further ado … Jordan’s review of “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins.

I must begin with this: Ellen Hopkins is a literary genius. “Crank,” along with any other of Hopkins’ books, is simply amazing. I can say this and be 100% truthful, Ellen Hopkins is my idol. I strive to write like she does, but in my own way. I look up to her more than just about anyone else. Her books have literally changed my life. Her books make me feel emotions that I didn't even know existed.

In “Crank,” Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter, but all that changes with one trip to her father’s house. While at her father’s house, Bree starts to emerge. Bree, the not-so-perfect half of Kristina. Drug addict, Bree. Kristina's worse nightmare.

Bree meets Adam, a guy who's already taken by another girl, and a druggie himself. Within a few weeks, she falls for him. Okay, STOP! :) This is the part in the book were I began yelling at Kristina, or should I say Bree? It was a good kind of yelling, though! I knew from the beginning that this kid wasn't going to help her in any way! I yelled at Kristina, telling her she had to realize that all guys were stupid, especially this one! The fact that Adam was already with some other chick and trying to get with her too – it just screams wrong. But, like many people, her worst nightmare, Bree, took over. Bree became addicted, not Kristina, like everyone who was around her when she stayed with her father. Bree fell in love with the monster.

The introduction to the monster opened Bree's eyes to a whole new world. A world of drugs, sex, sneaking out, and rebellion. There were SO many times during this book that I just wanted to take over Bree, turn her back into Kristina, but I couldn't. I yelled. I cried. I wanted Kristina to have the perfect ending. Not one where all you do is party, have sex, get pregnant, stay clean for your baby, and just start all over again. I truly felt like I was Bree. I felt like I was the character. Not that I actually do the things that Bree did.  It is just so well written, that you will feel like it's your story. Every decision that Bree makes, every decision that Kristina makes, feels like it’s yours. That’s where all the emotions kick in. You feel trapped.

This book is simply amazing. Amazing enough to the point where I have read it 6 or 7 times and cry every single time I read it. And I cry mostly because I feel like it's one person in this world that could have been saved, but wasn't. Seriously, people! The thing is, “Crank” isn't even my favorite of Ellen’s books, and I simply LOVED it! Her writing is beyond extraordinary. But, let me warn you, she does not, let me emphasize that a little more, she DOES NOT sugarcoat ANYTHING.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Jordan!  I read “Crank” for the first time this October, although I’ve read many of Ellen’s other books, and I have to say that I agree with everything Jordan has said.  So take Jordan’s and my word for it, get yourself a copy of “Crank” if you haven’t already!

Jordan keeps her own book blog here ... check it out!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Celebrate Good Times!


Oh happy day, bookworms!

This is a very special post because this is my 100th post!  I’ve loved blogging for TBF over the last year and a half, and I want to share the love with a 100th Post Celebration Prize Pack! Thanks to the generosity of the Teen Book Festival planning committee, one lucky reader will win the grand prize, which consists of …

  • A paperback copy of “Get Well Soon” by Julie Halpern
  • A hardcover copy of “The Kings Are Already Here” by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  • An official TBF sling bag
  • TBF pens

One second prize winner will win …
  • An official TBF tote bag
  • A gift certificate for a 6th Annual TBF T-shirt (redeemable at TBF 2011)
  • TBF decal

Two runners up will win …
  • A gift certificate for a 6th Annual TBF T-shirt (redeemable at TBF 2011)
  • TBF decal

You’re allowed one entry per day, so keep coming back! 

(Unfortunately, this contest is not international.)

This contest ends on February 6 (it is the 6th Annual TBF this year afterall).  Winners will be announced on February 7.

Enter here, or use the link on the sidebar!

Thanks so much for your support over the last year and half, readers.  Without you, there would be no reason for this blog!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Amy and Vera Win Big!

Hello Readers,

I hope that you’ve all heard the great news, but for those of you who haven’t, TBF 2010 and 2011 author A.S. King has won a Printz Honor Award for “Please Ignore Vera Dietz,” which I LOVED and reviewed here.  Be sure to send Amy your congratulations, here’s a link to her official author page on Facebook!

Congrats Amy and Vera!

(Read about the other winners on the American Library Association's website.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vlog Day!

Hello Readers!

It’s been a while since I posted any videos, so we’ll make this the ultimate video post!

(I'm having some technical difficulties with this post.  Videos presenting themselves on top of the text, weird spaces, etc.  If you find that you're having the same problems, refreshing the browser seems to resolve them! If not, leave me a comment and let me know.)

Up first, the book trailer for A.S. King’s newest novel “Please Ignore Vera Dietz” (which I reviewed here).  If you’ve read my review, you know that “Vera” was one of my favorite books of this fall, so I’m totally in love with this trailer.  Check it out!

This video features Torrey Maldonado, one of our TBF 2011 authors reading an excerpt of his book “Secret Saturdays” at the Brooklyn Book Festival.  And hey, isn’t that TBF alum Barry Lyga reading Torrey’s introduction?

This link will take you to a video of Torrey on NBC, as he discusses growing up in New York City and how it has influenced his writing, specifically his novel “Secret Saturdays.” 

I can’t believe that I forgot to post this video earlier in the year.  Nazareth College produced this video from footage of TBF 2010.  Were you there? Look for yourself in the video!

Readers, if I’ve missed any awesome book or TBF related videos, let me know about them by leaving me a comment! (Especially book trailers … I love a good book trailer!)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Big Interview with Josh Berk

Hey Bookworms! 

Today I have another interview for you … this one with Josh Berk, the author of “The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin.”  I’ve been following Josh on Twitter for a few months, and I can assure you all that he is hilarious.  Don’t believe me? Follow him yourself at @joshberkbooks or watch this video!  Now that I’ve raved about his hilarity, read on for his interview … 

Carly Reads: As someone who is highly interested in deafness and who is planning a career in working with the deaf and hard of hearing, I’d like to know, what inspired you to write a novel in which the main character is deaf?  
Josh Berk: I was at a place in my writing life where I had already written two books loosely based on myself and my friends. These manuscripts went nowhere, but I did get a bit of encouragement from a literary agent who told me to let her know when I wrote something else. That was exciting! But what to write? I had no idea. Then I had a brief dream about a kid reading lips on a school bus. It felt exciting and sort of scary so I jotted it down in my notebook. I started imagining what this character's life might be like as a deaf teen and from there Will was born! I admittedly was not an expert when I started, but I was fascinated by what I did know about the Deaf community. I also am fascinated by communication (and barriers to communication) in general so the idea appealed to me. Plus, Will immediately came to life as a bright, funny kid in my head and I knew I wanted to spend more time with him.

CR: You yourself are not deaf, so how did you get into the head of a deaf character?  What sort of research did you do (in regards “big D” versus “little d” deafness, Deaf culture, the nature of Deaf schools, etc.)?
JB: Well, getting into the head of a deaf teenage boy isn't that much different than getting into the head of a hearing teenage boy. All teenage boys think about the same things (more or less). But to school myself in the specifics of deafness and Deaf culture, I did indeed do a bunch of research. The Internet has made it amazingly easy to meet all sorts of people – I found deaf bloggers to interview, hung out on deaf message boards, and read tons of articles. If you've never thought about the topic at all, a quick googling of "deaf culture" will open your eyes to a huge range of issues and a fascinating and diverse world.  I also read lots of books on the topic, including memoirs and some scholarly texts. "Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School" by Gallaudet University professor Gina Oliva is a good one. Then I corresponded with some administrators at a Deaf high school who answered a few questions for me and I had some deaf readers look over the manuscript before it went to print. It was a lot of work, but I love research, and the Deaf world is fascinating and full of wonderful people!

CR: “Hamburger Halpin” is both a coming of age story and a mystery – did you start out the writing process knowing that it would be both? Or were you intending on it being one or the other (or neither!)?
JB: I think it had elements of both from the beginning, but I probably thought it would be more of a traditional mystery when I started. Then I got so fascinated by Will, and I wanted to know more about his life and his personal journey, that the coming of age elements grew as the book did. So I worked hard (as did my editor, who was wonderful) to weave together his own self-discovery with the mystery element. I'm happy that it ended up being both! A review or two has described it as "genre-bending," which makes me happy.

CR: What was your favorite book when you were a teenager?
JB: I was a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan in high school, and my favorite was probably his classic “Slaughterhouse-Five.” I met Kurt when I was in high school and he signed my copy. It's still proudly displayed in my living room.

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
JB: Probably Rachel Hawkins, just so I can tell her how much I hate her to her face. Just kidding, Hawkins! (Sort of. You know what you did.) Ha!

Josh, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these interview questions for us.  We look forward to meeting you in May (and experiencing your sense of humor in person)!