Friday, September 30, 2011

Carly Reads: Alumni Edition with Jennifer E. Smith

Hi Readers,

It’s time for another installment of Carly Reads: Alumni Edition. This week, I’m featuring a review of “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” by the very talented Jennifer E. Smith. Jennifer, who works as an editor for Ballantine, an imprint of Random House, attended TBF 2010 where she presented on the production of a book from an editor’s perspective.  In addition to “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” she is the author of “The Comeback Season” and “You Are Here.”

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

I love all of Jennifer’s books, and this one was no exception. “The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight” is a unique novel in that it’s written in present tense and takes place over the course of only 24 hours. I can't think of anything else that I've read in present tense except for "Love at First Sight" and "The Comeback Season,” but it’s so natural in "Love at First Sight" that about halfway through I started second guessing myself as to whether it was even unusual and had to page through a few other books to reassure myself that books are not usually in present tense. I also loved that it took place over 24 hours. I was worried that, because of the timeline, the story would feel rushed or would drag, but the timing was perfect.

Readers, in case you haven’t noticed yet, characterization plays a huge role in whether or not I like a book. I have to like a character, and relate to a character, and feel invested in a character in order to enjoy a book. And I didn’t just like Hadley and Oliver, I loved them. I loved Hadley's voice and I REALLY loved Oliver, especially his sense of humor.

Jennifer has a way of writing lines that literally stop me in my tracks. Her prose is gorgeous and beautifully constructed, which can be so hard to find in young adult literature.

I come back to Jennifer’s books again and again, rereading them in their entirety or sometimes rereading just a chapter, or a paragraph, or a line. And each time I do, I find discover something new about the way a scene is put together, or I connect to something she's written in a way that I haven't before.  “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” is no exception to this rule.

Unfortunately, readers, you’re going to have to wait until February 2012 for the “Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” but add it to your Goodreads queue and start a countdown to release day. It will be well worth the wait.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Share the love! Support TBF!

Hello Readers, 

Remember last year when I blogged about my second favorite day of the year? The TBF Read-a-Thon? Well, it’s coming up again!

This year’s Read-a-Thon will be held on October 15 from 1-5 p.m. at the Pittsford Barnes & Noble. 

In case not all of you are familiar with the Read-a-Thon, allow me provide you with brief explanation. Imagine curling up in a chair in the Pittsford Barnes & Noble with a book, surrounded by tons of other teens and adults that all love YA lit as much as you do, and reading for four hours straight. Sound like a fantasy? At the Read-a-Thon, it becomes a reality! 

The Read-a-Thon serves as TBF’s largest fundraising event. It began as a collection of smaller Read-a-Thons held at individual schools across the county. (I still remember my first Read-a-Thon, held in my high school’s library. I came straight from taking the PSAT exams. Ugh.) Now, the Read-a-Thon is an area-wide event, bringing together teens and adults with a mutual love for YA fiction and TBF. 

This year, each reader who participates in the Read-a-Thon is asked to bring a donation of at least $20 to support the Teen Book Festival. Donations can be collected via sponsorships. So, just as you would go to family and friends asking them to sponsor you for a charity walk, ask your family and friends to sponsor you for the Read-a-Thon. 

Like last year, there is an added incentive for readers in this year’s Read-a-Thon. The teen who collects the most money in pledges will win two tickets to this year’s author dinner, held the evening before TBF 2011.

Barnes & Noble will also hold an in-store bookfair the day of the Read-a-Thon, so if you bring this voucher to the clerk, part of the profit from your purchase will be donated to the Teen Book Festival. 

Another great reason to participate in this year’s Read-a-Thon? TBF 2011 and 2012 author Charles Benoit will be visiting the Pittsford Barnes & Noble for a reading and book signing during the Read-a-Thon! 

Pre-registration IS required for this year’s Read-a-Thon. So, if you’re interested in participating (and I hope you all are!), get in contact with the TBF committee through this page right here

If you’re not able to make it the Read-a-Thon, there’s another great way to support TBF. From October 16 until October 20, you can support TBF by buying books online from Barnes & Noble’s website. You need to enter a special code in order for TBF to get a portion of the proceeds and you can find that code right here

Teen Book Festival happens every year because of donations from generous groups and individuals and events like the Read-a-Thon and the Barnes & Noble Bookfair. So share the love for TBF! Attend the Read-a-Thon, buy a book in-store on October 15, or shop online from October 16-20.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Carly Hearts Carter

Hello Readers!

I hope you had a relaxing weekend full of reading. I, unfortunately, did not. I was in the newspaper office until 1 a.m. last night (by which I mean this morning) attempting to figure out how to convert an Adobe InDesign file into a PDF so that I could submit our first issue of the newspaper to the printer. I finally figured it out. And had time to write this post. Aren’t you impressed? I’m quite impressed with myself.

HOWEVER, we are not here tonight to sing my praises. Rather, we are here to sing the praises of Brent Crawford and his book “Carter Finally Gets It,” which I love. Really love. Really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really love.

Will Carter is a freshman with ADD, a stutter when he talks to girls, and a desperate desire to make his first year of high school as successful as possible. Unfortunately for Carter (but fortunately for the reader), things don’t go exactly as planned.  Carter narrates the ups and downs of his freshman year, from his first date to his first (and second) disastrous encounter with shaving, his first college party to his first (and second) run from the cops, and everything in between. 

“Carter Finally Gets It” is one of the funniest books I have read (ever!), and it’s also such a realistic portrayal of 14-year-old boys everywhere. Any reader, though, will be able to relate to Carter and his struggles to fit in and keep up.  As the sister of a teenage boy, I found “Carter Finally Gets It” to be especially relevant. Readers, pick up a copy of “Carter Finally Gets It.” You’ll gain a newfound respect for how hard it is to grow up from a boy to a man in our modern society, but you’ll also have a heck of a good laugh.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Carly Reads: Alumni Edition with Libba Bray

Hi Readers,

Welcome to the second installment of Carly Reads: Alumni Edition. In case you missed edition one, check out my original post. It gives a little bit of background information about this new Carly Reads feature, and it includes a review of Robin Brande’s newest book, “Into the Parallel.”

This week, we're talking about Libba. Libba Bray, of course, and her newest novel, "Beauty Queens."

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. 
What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

The brilliant Libba Bray's newest novel "Beauty Queens" celebrates diversity and girl power while tackling how hard it is to grow up as a girl in America, no matter your background. Tongue-in-cheek and darkly humorous, "Beauty Queens" is chock-full of situational comedy and one-liners that had me laughing out loud. I love a good satire, and “Beauty Queens” is one of the best examples of great satire that I can think of. It tackles everything from reality TV to dictators, and it’s the most fun journey I took through a book all summer.

Get yourself a copy of “Beauty Queens” ASAP, you won’t regret it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thoughts on "Mindblind"

Hola Readers!

Happy Wedneday. You know what Wednesday means, right? Most importantly, it means that Friday is only TWO DAYS AWAY! But it also means that I finished “Mindblind” three weeks ago, and now I have a review to share with you.

Fourteen-year-old Nathaniel Clark is in a rock band, has a crush on his mom’s best friend’s daughter, and gets wildly drunk at his first high school party. He also learned to read at age three, has already completed high school and college, and is filling out his grad school applications. Nathaniel has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, so even though he has a memory like a computer, he has trouble understanding and engaging in social interactions and doesn’t always quite understand how to relate to other “neurotypical” kids his age.

As someone who has spent the last three years of my life studying cognitive communication disorders like Asperger’s Syndrome, I enjoyed this book. Jennifer Roy did an excellent job of portraying Nathaniel realistically, while also making him entirely likeable and relatable.

“Mindblind” is an excellent example of diverse YA lit, and I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it any reader.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Starstruck" Winner

Hello Hello Hello, Readers!

I have a winner of the “Starstruck” contest! Congratulations to

Mikki P.

Mikki, I’ll be sending you an email to find out where I should send the book.

If you didn’t win this time, readers, don’t lose heart. There will be many more contests this year, so keep checking back!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Carly Reads: Alumni Edition with Robin Brande

Hello Readers!

Remember on Monday when I said I had a really exciting announcement to make up for my absence last week? Well today is the big day! Today I am introducing a brand new Carly Reads feature. I’ve been thinking a lot about our TBF alumni lately. Over the past six years, we’ve had so many AMAZING authors attend TBF and although they are not all returning for TBF 2012, they’ll forever be part of the TBF family. As I was scrolling through my Goodreads list last week, I realized that almost half the books I’ve read in the last year are written by authors who’ve attended TBF in the past.  Therefore, today I introdice Carly Reads: Alumni Edition. Once I week, I will review a book written by a TBF alum who isn’t attending TBF 2012, but will always be a part of the TBF legacy.

I couldn’t think of anyone better to kick of Carly Reads: Alumni Edition than Robin Brande. Robin is one of my all-time favorite authors. All of her books are incredible and she is totally awesome.  Recently, I read “Into the Parallel,” the first book in Robin’s in-progress “The Parallel” series, and I LOVED it. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY loved it. I gushed about it on Goodreads … and Amazon … and Barnes &, but it’s definitely a book deserving of more gushing.

So here I go (I hope you’re making a ‘drum roll’ noise right now) … Carly Reads: Alumni Edition presents a review of “Into the Parallel” by Robin Brande.

Description: Science has become the new magic . . . High school senior and amateur physicist Audie Masters has discovered what no other physicist has been able to prove: that parallel universes do exist, and there is a way to journey into them. She also discovers something else: a parallel version of herself, living the kind of life Audie never could have imagined for herself. Now Audie is living that life, too, full of adventure, romance, and reality-bending science. It’s all more than she could have hoped for – until something goes wrong.

I don't even know where to begin reviewing Robin Brande's latest book, so let me start with this: it was, like everything she has written, excellent. "Into the Parallel" had the same spot-on characterization, emotion, and dialogue that I have come to expect from Brande, but it also added aspects of reality that read like fantasy to mix. "Into the Parallel" will undoubtedly satisfy both fantasy fans and the contemporary realistic fiction crowd with its mix of quantum physics that seems too crazy to be true and a smart, adventurous narrator who couldn't be more true-to-life.

Brande effectively brings some of the most complex theories of quantum physics down to a level that the average reader can understand, and, as she's done in "Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature" and "Fat Cat," shown that science is way more cool than the every-day high school chemistry teacher may lead you to believe. With a cliffhanger ending that has me counting down the days until book two is released, "Into the Parallel" has me shouting off the rooftops that everyone should read this novel.

"Into the Parallel" is available as an ebook on Barnes&, Amazon, or Smashwords, or as a paperback through Barnes& and Amazon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blog Tour

Hi Readers,

I’m not sure how many of you are also book bloggers, but I some exciting news for those of you who are.

Maya, of Not on Shelf, approached me several months ago with the brilliant idea of a TBF 2012 Blog Tour. I’m still working on the details, but before I know for sure if a Blog Tour is going to happen, I need to know if there are bloggers interested in participating!

If you have a book blog and you would be interested in participating in a TBF 2012 Blog Tour (it would take place in April of 2012), please fill out this form. Filling out the form does not commit you to taking part in the tour, I’m just trying to get an idea of how many bloggers are interested.

Maya and I are really hoping this idea takes off, so pass along to message to any of your fellow TBF-loving blogger friends!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Struck by "Starstruck"

Hi Readers,

Clearly, I didn’t make it back to the blog on Wednesday, but I have really cool news that is going to make up for my absence. The only bad news is that you’re going to have to wait for that news. I know! I know! The torture! But I promise, it will be worth it.

In the meantime, allow me to distract you with my review of Cyn Balog’s “Starstruck.”  I won “Starstruck” from Random House during their #labordayreads Twitter contest. It was the first time that I ever won a book via Twitter and it was VERY exciting.  I entered because Cyn is a TBF 2012 author, but I didn’t know anything about the book, and boy was different from anything I’ve ever read.

Gwendolyn, stuck with the unfortunate nickname “Dough,” has been dating her best friend Wish for a few years. Their relationship is not exactly a typical high school one, though, in that Wish moved away just before their started dating so for the last few years, they’ve communicated only through email, instant messaging, and phone calls. When Wish announces that he’s moving back to New Jersey, Dough is less than excited. While Wish has grown from an awkward kid to a golden-haired surf god, Dough has spent the last few years as the class outcast who drowns her sorrows with donuts from her mother’s bakery.  When Wish returns to New Jersey, Dough can’t imagine why he’s still interested in her, but the mysterious newcomer, Christian, a literary scholar disguised as a dreadlocked slacker, who’s landed a job in Dough’s mom’s bakery, suggests that there may be more to Wish’s transformation then meets the eye.

I really enjoyed the paranormal twist to this book. (I know! I enjoyed a paranormal twist!) It’s practically unheard of, but “Starstruck” struck my fancy. I don’t want to give out too much information about the paranormal side of this novel, so I’ll say only this: it was a fascinating and unique concept that I was completely unfamiliar with before reading “Starstruck,” and I love how Cyn incorporated it into the story.  Although I did get frustrated with Dough because she is SO dissatisfied with her body and SO down on herself, the paranormal aspect made this a book that I enjoyed.

Okay readers, I won “Starstruck” in a contest, so I think it’s only fair that I return the favor. I’m passing on my copy of “Starstruck” to one lucky reader. Fill out this form to enter. The contest will until Sunday, September 18 at 5 p.m. and you may enter once per day between now and then.  Good luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm back!

Hello, hello, hello, Readers!

Long time no see! And when I say "long time," I mean "really long time." Apparently my fancy shmancy (and by "fancy shmancy" I mean "not really that fancy at all") "1 Day Until Carly Reads returns" message didn't post ... I'm still figuring out this whole Blogger scheduling thing. (One day, Blogger, I will conquer you!) Anywho ...

I took a long hiatus from the blog in order to prepare for my final year at Nazareth, which is both a happy and sad fact ... but now I am back and ready to return to blogging! I'm trying to get myself onto a steady posting schedule for this year. I'm thinking I'll post on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but don't hold me to that because I may change my mind!

In the meantime, allow me to dedicate this blog post to directly you away from the blog. (Yes, I too recognize the irony.) Direct yourself to the official TBF website (<-- click on that handy link right there!) and check out the awesomely huge list of authors that are confirmed for TBF 2012.  "Oh" and "Ah" over it, and then start thinking about an interview question that you want one of the confirmed authors to answer. There will be a contest soon, and the prizes will be big. Stay tuned for more details.

Missed you, Readers! I'll be back soon. (Hopefully Wednesday!)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011