Sunday, March 29, 2009

What I (Didn't) Read

I've been so lazy! I think it's been a few weeks since I tallied up my reading, and that's mostly because I've barely been reading. I returned some things to the library last week, and now I don't even remember what they were, which says something about how awesome they weren't. But here's what I remember.

Discovering Pig Magic, Julie Crabtree
About three friends who perform a bit of a magic ritual they learned from a book and then the changes they've wished for may or may not be happening, but in unexpected ways. blah blah

Rubber Houses, Ellen Yeomans
A short half-bath-sized verse novel about a girl whose little brother dies of cancer.

Two Moons in August, Martha Brooks
Set in the 50s and sort of retro-atmospheric, it's about a girl whose mother died and whose family isn't doing so well, and then she meets a boy, and so on. It reminded me of What I Saw and How I Lied, mostly in the way it name-dropped specific Revlon lipstick shades or names of perfumes, no doubt because the author browsed some vintage magazine ads and didn't want the research go to waste (or at least that's the impression I got from both those books).

And there were a couple others that I remember mostly for the shoulder strain the hardbacks caused, but I can't for the life of me remember what they were. Urgh.

Mostly I've been reading some actual adult books which need not be mentioned here. Except for P.G. Wodehouse, which was inspired by E. Lockhart and Frankie Landau-Banks. I can't believe I never read any of the Jeeves books, but that is changing.

(p.s. From now on, when I link to book info, I'll be using indiebound instead of amazon, so you can either find a local indie bookstore that carries them, or else buy online from an indie.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 Rita Award Finalists

Well. I made my bed, and now I have to lie in it.

The 2009 RITA finalists were announced by the Romance Writers of America, so here are the finalists in the YA category:
Hell Week, Rosemary Clement-Moore
How to Hook a Hottie,Tina Ferraro
Oh. My. Gods., Tera Lynn Childs

Monday, March 23, 2009


In non-YA-lit-related news, Carl Sagan's Cosmos is on the internet!!!
Oh man, does this take me back. All the way back to 8th grade earth science, taught by a lazy teacher in too-tight jeans who played all thirteen episodes for us while he sat at his desk and—did what? It was pre-internet, so it's not like he was checking his email. Possibly he had a book of crosswords, or a lot of hangovers. I don't know. All I know is, my life was never the same. Thanks, John Scalzi, for the heads up.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ramona and Beezus

Oh my god.
They're making a Ramona movie?
No one is a bigger fan of Ramona Quimby than I, and one look at the cast list makes me weep. Margene from Big Love as Aunt Bea? Selena Gomez as Beezus?? An adorable blue-eyed blond girl as Ramona??? Oh dear...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NYC Teen Author Festival UPDATE

Ok, so yesterday was the first event, Juvenalia Smackdown, where several talented and successful writers made fools of themselves reading ridiculous things they had written as teenagers.

It was a full house at the Tompkins Square Park library, and the panel was sometimes nearly drowned out by laughter. In the end, it was decided that Scott Westerfeld sucked the most, but honestly Holly Black was worse. Scott's might have been a stupidly pretentious crime-solving-space-demon wreck, but Holly's story sounded like something I might have written, and that is bad indeed. I was going to try to paraphrase, but thinking about a girl named Lucifer and men-and-whores and "they laughed long, in the manner of drunk people" (which is almost certainly not an actual quote) is making me giggle again, and I can't remember it right anyway.

Also, Cassandra Clare was wearing distractingly amazing red shoes.

And what was totally awesome is that one audience member and her mother had actually come all the way from Arizona just for this! I hope they have a great time in New York, and someone better make sure they get some t-shirts, or free books at the signings, or something. That's pretty cool.

So, it was a good start to the week. The next event is I Have Seen the Future…and It Sounds Like This on Wednesday evening at 6 pm at NYPL's Mulberry Street branch. More amazing writers will be reading from their future books. See you there!
Neil Gaiman was on Colbert last night talking about The Graveyard Book:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lambda Literary Awards Finalists

Finalists for this year's Lambda Literary Awards (for excellence in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lit) have just been announced. Here are the titles in the LGBT Children's/Young Adult category. (As always, I'm listing only the YA finalists here, although in this case there's only one book for younger readers that's not included on this list.)

Out of the Pocket, Bill Konigsberg
How They Met & Other Stories
, David Levithan
What They Always Tell Us
, Martin Wilson
Love & Lies: Marisol's Story
, Ellen Wittlinger

I didn't even know that Ellen Wittlinger had a new book out, and it turns out that it's sort of a sequel to Hard Love! That book isn't a favorite or anything, but it was one of the early Printz honor books, and thus was part of the first big batch of YA books I read as an adult. And so I think of it fondly.

Anyway. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 28th.

NYC Teen Author Festival

The NYC Teen Author Festival is happening this week! It's not too late for non-NYCers to get on a plane if you do it right now.

It all starts tomorrow with the event I'm personally most looking forward to: Juvenilia Smackdown, where awesome and acclaimed writers read the embarrassing crap they wrote as kids. Promises to be awful. It's from 4-6 pm tomorrow, at the Thompkins Square Park branch of the library, 331 E. 10th Street.

Full details and the week's schedule are on the facebook page, and don't worry—I'm going to be talking about this all week. So, you know, plenty of details here as well eventually.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Aah! Bisto

It's time for the Bisto Children's Book of the Year Shortlist. It's just for Irish books, and most of the nominees are for younger readers. But here are the YA titles:

Anila's Journey
, Mary Finn
Bog Child, Siobhan Dowd
Creature of the Night, Kate Thompson

The winners will be announced at the CBI Summer Conference
on May 16 - 17.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What'd I read this week?

Just a coupla things:
Kendra by Coe Booth
Not surprisingly, I really liked this book. Kendra's mom had her when she was 14 and left her to be mostly raised by her own mother while she went to college, and then grad school. Kendra's spent her whole life waiting for her mom to finally finish school and come home and be her mom. It's painful to read. Meanwhile, the grandmother is determined that Kendra won't end up in the same situation her mother did, even though at 14 Kendra has no plans to have sex or be that kind of girl. Until the opportunity actually comes up and complicates things. It all kind of reminded me of me, though the circumstances of my growing up have little in common with Kendra's. It's just that her coming-of-age story, and the characters and relationships (even the minor ones), are so true and well realized that they kind of become universal.

(Trying read it back to back with Virginia Euwer Wolff's This Full House for a couple versions of what happens when a smart girl has a baby too young and has to make hard choices between her own life and her child's.)

Be More Chill, Ned Vizzini
Meh. Hopeless dork pays good money for a swallow-able mini-computer that instructs him on how to be cool. Then he gets popular-ish and has some success with the ladies, except that the lady he wants isn't as cool as the one the computer's trying to score for him. And so on. Valuable lessons are learned. It's ok...and I liked it more than It's Kind of A Funny Story, so that's something.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Golden Kite Award

A quick final award note:
The Golden Kite Award (awarded by The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) is mostly for books for kid kids, not teens, but there's one YA on the list this year: The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary E. Pearson was the Golden Kite Honor book in the fiction category. (That's two announcements in one day for that book!)

**The press release about the winners isn't on the SCBWI website yet;
I got the info here.

Andre Norton Finalists

And there's more! Here are the finalists for the Andre Norton Award (for best Young Adult Sci-Fi or Fantasy book):

, Kristin Cashore
Lamplighter, D.M. Cornish
Savvy, Ingrid Law
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson
Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room), Ysabeau S. Wilce

Winners will be announced on Apr. 24-26 (same weekend as the Los Angeles Time Book Prize..), during the Nebula Awards Weekend (which happens to take place in Los Angeles this year...) Someone who either lives over there or has a plane ticket could make quite the literary/geeky weekend of it.

***UPDATE (cause I wasn't paying attention this morning)***
I hate when I'm an idiot! I was just idly typing posts in bed while waiting for some furniture to be delivered this morning, looking forward to a luxurious work-free few hours. But then the delivery guy came at the crack of dawn and spoiled my plans, so I had to type faster. But that's no excuse. Had I actually read through all the finalists and not just the YA ones I might have noticed this too, but fortunately a much more careful reader on adbooks has pointed out that in addition to the Norton finalists, two YA books were included in the general Nebula novel category: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and Powers by Ursula Le Guin. Good for them!

The LA Times Book Prize Finalists

Finally, a fun new award to keep an eye on! It's been a long, long month since the ALAs. The ceremony is April 24th, which is plenty of warning—no excuses for not having read all of these.

Finalists in the YA Lit category:
The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, Candace Fleming
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
Dark Dude, Oscar Hijuelos
Swallow Me Whole, Nate Powell
Nation, Terry Pratchett

Sunday, March 1, 2009


The awards pickings have been slim lately. I seem to have nothing to post about... I did read some stuff this week though, so there's always that.

Bog Child, Shioban Dowd

, Neil Gaiman

Not really YA, but close enough maybe? I read it because I was planning to see the movie, though in the end I haven't yet. It's the sort of book I would have loved when I was ten years old, dark and creepy enough to be fun, but mostly it's about exploring and cleverly outwitting the evil adults.

I started, but didn't finish, Graceling, and returned it to the library by accident yesterday. It seems like everyone loves it so I feel strange for not instantly getting excited about it. I'll check it out again though and give it a proper go. I also started but didn't quite finish Love is a Many Trousered Thing, by Louise Rennison. It's sitting on the edge of my bathtub right now, so I'm sure I'll finish it next bath. I picked it up mostly because I was surprised to see that there are 9 books in that series now. I hadn't been paying attention, but that seems like quite a lot. I read the first two ages ago and they are very charming. This one, so far, feels like it's struggling a lot harder to be funny than the early ones.

And then I picked up Kendra by Coe Booth from the library, so I'll be starting that on Monday's commute. I'm pretty excited about it actually—I hope I get a seat so I can enjoy it. Everyone knows how much I loved Tyrell a few years ago, so it's been way too long a wait to read more from Booth. (And you know that she'll be involved with the NYC Teen Author Festival this month, right? Details here.)