Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Memes: Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.


Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher. 343 p. Little, Brown and Company, May 17, 2016. 9780316370752.

Publisher synopsis: My name is Tess Turner--at least, that's what I've always been told.

I have a voice but it isn't mine. It used to say things so I'd fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn't. It lied.

It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too.

Fifteen-year-old Tess doesn't mean to become mute. At first, she's just too shocked to speak. And who wouldn't be? Discovering your whole life has been a lie because your dad isn't your real father is a pretty big deal. Terrified of the truth, Tess retreats into silence.
Reeling from her family's betrayal, Tess sets out to discover the identity of her real father. He could be anyone--even the familiar-looking teacher at her school. Tess continues to investigate, uncovering a secret that could ruin multiple lives. It all may be too much for Tess to handle, but how can she ask for help when she's forgotten how to use her voice?

First line: There must be a list on the Internet of what to buy when you're running away, but my phone is typically dead, like I swear it just passes out whenever things get stressful.

Page 56: "It can wait until Saturday morning, can't it?" Mum said when Jack was breathing down my neck to get my homework done one Friday evening. "What difference does it make?"
     "She'll feel better if she gets it out of the way."
     "Have you asked her that" Mum laughed as I half-sprawled on the sofa."She seems happy enough to me."
     "Sit up, Tess." I shuffled around at once. "And take off those ridiculous boots, will you? They're filthy. How many times do I have to tell you?"

I already ache for Tess. The voice is captivating and the writing is lovely. I've only read Ms. Pitcher's memorable debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece. Somehow, I never got to Ketshup Clouds, which was renamed, Yours Truly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - Spaced Out by Stuart Gibbs

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.


Spaced Out by Stuart Gibbs. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, April 5, 2015.

Publisher synopsis: The moon base commander has gone missing and Dash Gibson is on the case in the second mind-boggling mystery of the Edgar-nominated Moon Base Alpha series from the New York Times bestselling author of Belly Up and Spy School.
There's nowhere to hide on the world's first moon base. After all, it's only the size of a soccer field. So when Nina Stack, the commander of Moon Base Alpha, mysteriously vanishes, the Moonies are at a total loss.
Though he may be just twelve years old, Dashiell Gibson is the best detective they've got. But this confusing mystery pushes him to his limits. Especially since he has his own huge secret to protect. With the fate of the entire human race hanging in the balance, will Dash be able to solve the mystery of the missing Moonie?

I have been a fan of Stuart Gibbs ever since I reviewed his hilarious and engaging, Belly Up for SLJ. I had not realized it at the time, that Belly Up was his debut. I will admit that I approached Space Case with a bit of cynicism, but Gibbs managed to convert my cynicism to enjoyment. My student enjoy all his books including the Evil Spy School series.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:

I attended a webinar hosted by Sourcebooks previewing their spring titles. I jotted down five or six titles to watch for but couldn't resist requesting one arc:



Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan. 331 p. Sourcebooks, April 1, 2016. 9781492630142.

Publisher synopsis: 10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club
When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he's Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He's Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. 
But it's also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust...

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security "catches" them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It's time for Rule #7: Always get payback.
Let the prank war begin.

Oceans 11 meets The Breakfast Club in this entertaining, fast-paced debut filled with pranks and cons that will keep readers on their toes, never sure who's pulling the strings or what's coming next.

It seems that pranking and heists are a bit of a trend - The Tapper Twins, The Terrible Two, The Great Greene Heist, and Loot. Now we have a YA, and a debut, no less.

Purchased:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. 256 p. Random House Publishing Group, January, 2016. 

Publisher synopsis: At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a na├»ve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

I very rarely read books for an adult audience any more but this one caught my eye - partly because I have a son who is a first year neurosurgical resident, partly because I have always been intrigued by medical memoirs and partly because it is getting a tremendous amount of buzz.

A Midsummer Night #nofilter (OMG Shakespeare series) by William Shakespeare, Brett Wright. Random House Children's Books, January, 2016
Publisher synopsis: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of the greatest stories ever told . . . in texts?!
 
Imagine: What if the fairies and star-crossed lovers of the forest had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!
 
Four lovers who can’t decide who they have a crush on. 
One mischievous fairy with a love potion. 
Total chaos in the fairy world, the human world, and everywhere in between!
 
<3 and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)
 
tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, posting photos, checking in at locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens. 

A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr meanstoo long; didn’t read.

Macbeth #killingit by William Shakespeare, Courtney Carbone. OMG Shakespeare series. Random House Children's Books, January, 2016.
Publisher synopsis: Macbeth, one of the greatest stories ever told . . . in texts?!
 
Imagine: What if that tragic couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!
 
A prophecy from three witches.
A social-climbing couple committing a murder most foul.
A cover-up that spins way out of control.
<3 and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)
 
tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, posting photos, checking in at locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens. 
 
A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr meanstoo long; didn’t read.
I enjoyed the first two in this humorous series and look forward to these.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Memes: Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.



Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan. 326 p. Sourcebooks Fire, April 1, 2016. 9781492630142.

Publisher synopsis: 10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club


When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he's Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He's Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it's also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust...

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security "catches" them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It's time for Rule #7: Always get payback.
Let the prank war begin.

Oceans 11 meets The Breakfast Club in this entertaining, fast-paced debut filled with pranks and cons that will keep readers on their toes, never sure who's pulling the strings or what's coming next.

First lineRule #1 in any quality heist film is Don't get caught.

Page 56: My feet unstick from the floor, and I backpedal a few steps before turning and running for my life, the trophy tight in my hands. I zigzag around tables, with Goon's bull-like grunting close behind. I hear other footsteps too, and know that the rest of the lacrosse team is salivating a the chance to kill. kids leap up to watch the excitement, and I race for Potatoe's table.

It seems apropos that this prank/ heist book is being published on April Fool's Day. I recently attended a Sourcebooks preview webinar and, while I jotted down most of the titles to check out/ order, this one rose to the top. I guess all the mg prank/ heist novels I've read in the past year have had an influence. I requested an arc and received it. Thanks, Sourcebooks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Sting by Jude Watson

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.

Saw this on FB and found this link:



Sting by Jude Watson. Scholastic Inc., September, 2016.

Synopsis: Rule number one for cat burglars is: Never do a favor for a friend. So why is thirteen-year-old March McQuin dangling upside-down twenty feet above a stone floor in the middle of the night? Along with his twin sister jules, he's set on stealing a set of stunning diamonds. It should have been an easy job, in and out. Except another thief got there first. March and Jules are lucky to escape with their lives, and one measly stone.

Now the botched heist has created a world of trouble. The stone they grabbed was the Morning Star, one of a trio of famous sapphires, and it's cursed. The theft puts the twins and their friends in the crosshairs of Interpol, the FBI, and a vicious adult gang of international criminals known as the Top Cat gang. And worst of all, the only way to break the curse and set everything to rights is by pulling off two more impossible heists...and stealing the other two sapphires in the set.

I really enjoyed Loot and look forward to this sequel.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Arc Review: One by Sarah Crossan

One by Sarah Crossan. 391 p. Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins Publishers, September, 2015. 780062118752.

Sixteen-year-old conjoined twins, Tippi and Grace have been home-schooled until now. Finances have always been strained due to their medical condition; but thanks to the recent unemployment of their alcoholic father, their mother has to work. So they will be attending school for the first time - as juniors. It's hard enough being the new girls. I couldn't imagine what it must be like for anyone like Tippi and Grace - until I read this powerful verse novel.

It has been awhile since I've been gut-punched by a book. Spare and lyrical, this is an intense story of sisterhood, family and friendship. The sisterhood and twin-ship of Tippi and Grace are deepened as well as complicated by the fact that they are conjoined. The story is told through Grace's point-of-view. Grace is quieter, more bookish and introspective. Tippi is fiery and edgy. Grace often relies on Tippi to set the tone, but also balances Tippi's fire when it threatens to overwhelm her. 

The anger they want to feel for their father's alcoholism is overpowered by the guilt they feel over the financial strain their care has placed on their family. They also feel guilty that their sister, Dragon has to work to pay for her ballet lessons. She is a gifted dancer and there's just no money for any extras, especially a trip to Russia to dance at the Bolshoi. Grace also suspects Dragon may be anorexic.

At school, two best friends and defiant outcasts, Jon and Yasmeen take the twins under their wings and shepherd them through the day. Grace realizes that these two are their first friends. Soon Grace and Tippi are doing what "normal" teens do - cutting class, lying to their folks, getting drunk and, for Grace, at least, having a crush. But normal can't last for long.

Do not read this book in any sort of public place such as the subway or the faculty room (as I did) or folks will witness your ugly cry. Sometimes, I become so inundated with arcs that gems become lost in a sea of gems. I hauled a bag of arcs into my library last week and when a voracious eighth grade reader came in to find a new book, I let her have at my bag. She found One and took it home for the long weekend. When she returned it, her face was filled with such emotion as she tried to explain how wonderful but how terribly sad the book is. I set the book aside to read for myself.

We have bonded over this book. I am so happy she found it and shared this under-the-radar gem with me. I cannot wait to share it with my students who love sad, gut-punching books. I hope this book gets the time to develop the readership it deserves.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Memes: One by Sarah Crossen

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.



One by Sarah Crossan. 391 p. Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins Publishers, September, 2015. 780062118752.

Publisher synopsis: Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.


Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it's normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. Each of the sixteen-year-old girls has her own head, heart, and two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.

But the girls' body is beginning to fight against them. And Grace doesn't want to admit it. Not even to Tippi. How long can they hide from the truth—how long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives?

Carnegie Medal–nominated author Sarah Crossan gives us a story about unbreakable bonds, hope, loss, and the lengths we will go to for the person we love most.


First line: Since this is a novel in verse, I will post the first poem:

Sisters

Here
                      We Are.

And we are living.

Isn't that amazing?

How we manage
to be
at all.

Pages 56/57:

The Cafeteria

As we enter the cafeteria,
Yasmeen and Jon
dance around us,
                  one in front
one behind
so we are no
                  quite
                  seen.

Mom, Dad, Dragon, and Grammie
have been doing this for years,
hiding
us
as best they can
from ridicule
and camera phones,
because there's nothing worse
than a click-click-click
and knowing that in seconds
you'll be famous via
someone else's social feed.

We order chipboard pizza,
a Sprite with two straws,
and sit
                     at a corner table
                     with Yasmeen and Job
talking over
other voices and clinking cutlery,
not about how we live
                    -the logistics of conjoined pissing-
(which is how I thought the whole day would be)
but about movies
and music
and books
and beer
and the new school year
and the islands of Greece
and coral reefs
and our favorite cereals
and Satan.

We have perfectly silly conversations
and by the time the bell rings
I am starting to wonder-
have we
found ourselves
                two friends?