Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trying to Chat with Melissa Walker @ RGZ?

"Due to internal MySpace difficulties, tonight's rgz LIVE! with Melissa
will be rescheduled. Watch the forum for the new date so you don't
miss this awesome chat with Melissa!" ~the rgz divas

oops. But hey, this is only like the 2nd time it's happened in the 18 month history of Reader Girlz. And when you add in all the extra chats (31 Flavorites, anyone?), that's a darn good percentage.

We'll getcha next time!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Psst: It's in the treehouse!

I'm going to be honest here. I picked up YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND ME based on the cover with a little cred from the author. I was expecting something a little spookie. What with the illusion of a ghost. So...mark me surprised when I find out it's about suicide, drug abuse, obesity and self-loathing. This said, there's more than one way to see a ghost.

Miles, or "8 Mile" as she's so kindly referred to by her peers, has just lost her cousin Laura to suicide. Miles loved Laura like a sister, they grew up together, they did everything together. Now, true, they had grown apart a little once they hit high school, with Laura being a perfect blond beauty and Miles preferring items of the Goth-ier persuasion, but they always shared the treehouse, and their drug stash. When Laura kills herself with those very same drugs they've shared, Miles is sent into a tailspin of grief-stricken abuse.

"All those finger-waggers admonishing about what no to do -- Don't do drugs! Don't smoke! Don't drink! -- completely miss that there's a reason people do these vices. They feel good, in the moment. The risks and consequences - addiction, disease, a life spiraling out of control, even death -- don't matter when you're inside the do (p 140).

Ok, now, all of that sounds entirely too dire and dark to be AT ALL enjoyable, right? Well, you're forgetting about the author. In the hands of Rachel Cohn, the darkness is skillfully plumbed, but not without some wit and humor. We are talking about the woman who brought us Cyd Charisse and the Levithan collaborations, you know. So there's an ever-present dark, witty humor in the voice of Miles. For instance, at Laura's funeral:

"The private-school girls are straight-haired, skinny fashonista clones who look like their every mood is accessorized; today their lip gloss is in the shade of Sad (p 35).

Deep down, Miles is most angry about the fact that Laura just had the courage to do what Miles doesn't. To kill herself. A life that Miles could barely stand already just becomes more difficult without the person she lived for. Unfortunately, her summer is about to get worse, when her best friend, Jamal, falls in love with one of those skinny fashonistas. They say sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get better, but will Miles survive the experience?

Even though Miles is losing herself there are people in her life that are fighting to keep her: Her father, Laura's dad, Jamal's mom, Jamal, Laura's fashonista friend; all strong characters trying to help the girl in anyway they can. If she'll just let them in.

Beyond the obvious issues present in the novel, I also found fascinating the topic of D.C. statehood that was a passion for a couple of the characters, including Miles. Not having anything but a cursory connection with The District, it was important both structurally, educationally, and for entertainment (Miles is mad smart - this allowed for some very fun rants).

Favorite quote: "The dream is real while you're in it" (p 140).

Also: This book REALLY made me want a grilled cheese sandwich.

Other blogland posts:

YA Books & More
Liv's Book Reviews <--Hey...I think that's a teen posting...posting well! Brava!

The book should be read by: Those who like Rachel Cohn or Ellen Hopkins, My Big Fat Manifesto, Stay With Me, and 13 Reasons Why.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Do YOU want a song written about you?

And the next book in the great backlog of books I have to return because there are holds: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway.

Side note: Her blog totally sucked me in. It also sent me here, which has given me LOTS of inspiration for my sewing machine adventures. It also makes me want to visit Mood (thank you Project Runway!) No, I don't know how to sew. Yes, expect disaster. Don't worry, if you want, I'll document it.

Right. So, Audrey breaks up with her boyfriend. Pretty normal. He didn't do anything specifically wrong, but they just sorta grew apart. As you do. The only problem is that Evan has a band and he writes a song about their breakup. A song that not only catches on, it becomes a huge mega-hit, and Audrey and Even become household names - to the extent that Audrey is followed around by paparazzi. Living a normal life and trying to catch her new crush is a little harder when your every move is posted online.

I'm trying to think of something negative to say, if simply just to balance out the fact that everyone who reads this book loves it. Everyone. I'm serious, try to find a negative review. Well, except that one on Amazon where some little kid was reading it and the parent got mad at the sex/drugs/rock 'n roll that was, quite appropriately, there. There's no way it would have been believable without any of that or the swearing. So, don't give it to your 9-year-old. Not hard. But, I can't think of anything negative. It's a good book. Fun. Funny. Well-developed characters. One of those good rousing speeches near the end that you know is coming, but that you can't help but be fond of. I like to be able to like and root for my characters.

The whole plot definitely takes advantage of the weird celebrity society we've cultivated in the last decade. Audrey hasn't done anything out of the normal, and she's suddenly, against her will, plunged into a role that's akin to the second coming of Paris Hilton (ew. ew. ew.). It's not the first book to deal with unwanted celebrity (another favorite is Amazing Grace by Megan Shull. See more courtesy LW.), but it deals with the during, rather than the more commonly depicted aftermath.

Easy sell for older teens.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Teen Review

To participate in the Summer Reading Program at my library system teens submit reviews online. For every review that gets submitted to my branch I get an email containing what they wrote. I read every one. I got permission from the teen to share one of my favorites here.

Fingers by William Sleator
2 stars.

Well it was an okay book. It really wasn't that exciting at all....a boring read. *yawnz* yeah, its about a pianist who has his family make his brother compose new songs and they say that he was possesed by a dead pianist and... *snores* yeah, its just really not that good at all. You'd be better off reading about slugs.

- B.H. (age 14) from Jackie's Library

Outside of the review B.H. said: "hmmm you might like that book but i didn't. it was such a waste of life points lol"

THAT is why I love my job.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Readergirlz Launches rgz TV on YouTube

For more information contact:

rgz tv enlivens literacy by creating a visual connection between authors and readers

August 20, 2008 (Seattle, Wash.)-Teen readers worldwide can watch author interviews at rgz tv on a new YouTube channel --

"Launching rgz tv is the natural next step for readergirlz since we know readers want face-to-face contact with authors, and not all readers have the ability to attend author readings,” says co-founder Justina Chen Headley. “Now they can connect, right in front of their computer."

rgz tv is broadcasting interviews with Rachel Cohn, Jay Asher, Sonya Sones and Paula Yoo. The uploaded videos have been shot and edited by the readergirlz founders and members of the postergirlz.

"I loved covering the Stephenie Meyer Breaking Dawn Concert for rgz tv,” says co-founder Lorie Ann Grover. “Now everyone can access the amazing moment!"

readergirlz invites avid readers, librarians, and booksellers to be rgz correspondents. When a favorite young-adult author visits a local library, school or bookstore, you can shoot a 2- to 3-minute video like the ones on the readergirlz channel. Upload it to YouTube and send an e-mail to The rgz correspondent will receive a FREE, limited-edition readergirlz button.

About readergirlz

readergirlz is the foremost online book community for teen girls, led by four critically acclaimed YA authors - Dia Calhoun (Avielle of Rhia), Lorie Ann Grover (On Pointe), Justina Chen Headley (Girl Overboard), and Mitali Perkins (First Daughter: White House Rules). The postergirlz are the teen-lit advisory council of bloggers for readergirlz, led by Little Willow. They include Miss Erin, Jackie Parker, HipWriterMama, and teen reader Alexia.

To promote teen literacy and leadership in girls, readergirlz features a different YA novel and corresponding community service project every month. For more information about readergirlz, please visit and, or contact

copyright 2008 readergirlz

Yes, this means you'll see me, on video, making a fool of myself. *sigh* I taped one with Lisa Ann Sandell when she was here last month, but I'm having issues sending the 200+ MB file to the RGZ for editing. I don't really want to just load it up onto YouTube unedited. I can't even watch it, I'm so embarrassed. Lisa is great in it, though. Oh, and I did it back when they were calling it RGZ On The Town, which I then totally said in the vid. I'm lame.

Bumbershoot is Labor Day weekend, and Ellen Hopkins, Francesca Lia Block, Ned Vizzini, and Deb Caletti will be there...Perhaps one of us will get some of them on video. Maybe I can ask questions off screen?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Me, in words.

So I've seen Wordle around for a while, but I hadn't investigated it, because, well, what would I put in it? All the authors seem to put their first chapter in it, others are doing song lyrics and other things that mean something to them, and well, I couldn't think of anything I want displayed, and I didn't really have time to mess around with it. BUT THEN, Erin mentioned that you could plug a BLOG in...

See it bigger.

I need to say "LIKE" less. And who knew I'd said "JACOB" so many times?

If you do or have done one, I'd love to see it! Link it up in the comments!

(blatantly stealing from Justina Chen Headley here, just sos you know).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Forgive me if you've seen this already...

But it's the most fantastic response to a book challenge I've ever seen. My favorite part:

"Library collections don't imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life."

Read the whole thing. I couldn't help but share.

Friday, August 08, 2008

No one's ever on Google Chat when you need them to be.

So, I'm opening this up to the people I should have opened it to in the first place: You. The people who actually read this blog.

You'll have to get out of your RSS Readers for this one, though. That's right. Click on over to the site (it's if you've forgotten.)

I have gotten bored with my template. It looks just like everyone else's. So I changed a few things. I need you to tell me in the comments what you think about those changes. It's ok. Be honest. I'll wait.




Ok, cousin Bill appeared, and as he's getting a degree in graphic arts or something equally design driven, he's taken pity on my sad librarian soul and is looking into better palates for me. So, let's watch the evolution!

#1Bill said it was CRAZY busy and my words had to compete with the background. Which is pretty much what I was fearing. So I switched to:


Which, as most of you realize is depressingly close to the original design, but with some variation in the background, along the lines of the first experiment, only less insane. BUT, as you can see in the screen shot, I've acquired a rather obnoxious block over the post title, that I haven't figured out how to fix yet...

#3Bill said "oh no no no, you don't want to use the pattern" when I uploaded this one. Which, kinda fit what I had been thinking as it was even busier than the first one he didn't like. He just make it for the palate, apparently. After quizzing me for what I want, he went off searching for a background that he liked. Unfortunately, he's now decided that he doesn't actually LIKE anything he's found, so he said that he'll have to make me one. (score!), BUT he doesn't have time now... so... I'll just stick something random in there until he gets a chance...



It's so FLAT compared to the others...

Still too busy.



I'm...not really pink, am I?


I think now that I'm just changing the background because I don't want to clean the apartment, and I'm quietly hoping that one of these times it will just magically fix that evil box.





I guess what is making this difficult for me is the fact that I don't know what I want out of it. What kind of identity that I want to convey with the site. What colors do I feel like to you guys? (man, that's a crazy question)

Let me know what you think.

(Oh - and if anyone knows how to remove that block, let me know!)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Of course I'm reading Breaking Dawn.

You didn't really expect otherwise, did you? After this and this? I got a few nudges to do something like my Deathly Hollows post... and I hesitated, because I'm not as close to this series as I was to HP, I've only read each book once, unlike HP, where I've lost count of how many times I've read a few of those. I can't promise that there won't be a certain amount of spoilers (Seriously - It's not like I come right out and give stuff away, but you probably don't want to read this if you care about not knowing the ending). Nothing completely revealing, but I'm sure it will be less reaction, and more... I don't know, yelling at the book? Something. And so:

Ooo. Chapter titles! Don't look at them too closely.
Preface: What are these her thoughts as she turns? I didn't think she'd turn...
p 6: Random strangers are talking to her? Since when are there strangers in this series?
p 9: Aw. Jacob hasn't come back.
p 9: Haha! I know all those towns. AND I know how to say Sequim (it's squim. ignore the 'e'). This def. wouldn't be the case had I stayed in Michigan.
p 11: Seth is so cute.
p 13: oo flashback
p 17: giggle
p 19: that was way too easy.
p 35: Creepy vampire story.
p 37: Horrible dream that smacks of foreshadowing.
p 46: I'm kinda surprised this wedding is happening so early.
p 49: And when will it get interrupted?
p 57: yay! Jacob!!!
p 66: ok dude, calm down.
p 75: I want a surprise honeymoon.
p 78: I want a private island.
p 83: Less introspection, please
p 89: This is silly.
p 92: Isn't he like ice cold? Like all over? That doesn't really sound like fun to me.
p 98: that went on too long
p 111: OMG... is she? Now THAT's a plot twist I didn't expect.
p 120: Holy cow, she is.
p 139: Oh, this is interesting! We get Jacob's point of view! Yay! I was getting annoyed with Bella, so this is a relief.
p 143: mahaha! This will be fun!
p 145: who the hell is Paul? God, I can't keep these werewolves straight.
p 152: poor Quil
p 164: I bet you didn't! lol
p 171: Ah. The preface...
p 185: I'm loving the chapter titles! They are soo Jacob!
p 188: "'Did you know that "I told you so" has a bother, Jacob?...His name is "Shut the hell up."' BWAHAHA! Must share with the boy! And she learned it on The Simpsons! Haha!
p 204: YOU are supposed to be the Alpha Jacob!!! Not Sam! Own it, silly boy!

Txt msg break to see where friends are:

Lisa C is in the late 400s and is complaining about the bad writing. I reminded her that Meyer claims not to be a writer, but a storyteller, and Lisa's willing to read 753 pages of story, so there must be something there. She concedes the points and admits she wants to know what happens. And wants to see the movie, even though she still thinks it's bad writing and that it's her professional obligation as a teen librarian to read the social phenomenon. And yes, this was a discussion solely through txt msg.

Sonia is pretty giddy, about 80 pages ahead of me. We mostly talk plot and how we didn't see THAT coming in all our predictive thoughts before opening the book.

p 208: There ya go Jacob. That only took you 4 pages.
p 214: I <3 Seth
p 216: "Circle the wagons, bloodsucker." CACKLE!!
p 228: "Ugh, Leah, you ruin everything!" heh

BFF Sarah calls. Amazon didn't deliver her book on Saturday, so she's without BD. It is very sad.

p 240: "Ice cold Barbie" *smiles*
p 266-7: *giggle*
p 274 Seriously, Alice is practically a non-entity so far in the book. That's unusual.
p 280: mmm, cheese omelet.
p 295: HAHA "I'll keep trying."
p 328: Aw, poor Jacob.
p 331: Ew, no Jacob, you don't.
p 347: EWWWWWW!
p 359: Oh, you have GOT to be freakin' kidding me.
p 386: Well, at least I was right about Snape...
p 394: I get it. Bella and Edward like each other!
p 437: Ok, I'll say it. Renesmee is a stupid name.
p 553: Not to be Dramatic or anything...
p 558: The Merchant of Venice? mmmmkaay...
p 597: Sounds like the muggle deterrents in HP.
p 612: Ferine? What in hell does that mean? Feline? Feral?
p 619: *snort* "lacking incentive" hee!
p 623: You know, I'm liking this vamp camp.
p 626: HAHAHA! Romanian Vampires! It's just not right if gold ole Vlad doesn't get a cameo in a vampire story!
p 628: "Mysteriously delighted" Well, that is curious.
p 634: ooo she's coming to Seattle. 'Bout time. I wonder if I'll recognize anything...
p 642: This is all rather amusing.
p 647: Must find out if The Pacifico is real...Nope. Not that I can tell.

BFF has gotten her copy. Her reaction: "WEEEEEEE!"

p 678: Don't know about you guys, but I'm on the edge of my seat.
p 681: That...can't be good...
p 692: I rather wish someone would call Jane a sadistic troll. Or at least open some good old Molly Weasley vengeance on her butt.
p 711: The Romanian Vamps make me laugh.
p 718: "the peaceful character of this life of sacrifice." What are they, a holy order?
p 718: I think Garrett might be talking himself to death.
p 722: The Volturi are lame.
p 723: Awww
p 724: Aw, man, Esme's so dead.
p 726: Yes, dahling, taunt her.
p 730: Se, if you left you'd still be in power. You don't, and, well...
p 732: Ooo Alice must have found someone...
p 732: Alice! (just had to add one more)
p 739: Well, that was anti-climatic. I really was hoping for more violence.
p 740: Right on, Stephan.
p 751: *eye roll*
p 754: Aaaaand, I'm done.

Quick impressions, but allow me to change and adjust my view as the book sinks in. First part kinda sucked. It was boring, Bella was annoying, and it went on too long. Jacob's POV in the middle ROCKED. His dry, self-deprecating sarcasm picked it up, added humor, and just made me love him. Third part was fast-paced, and I loved the impromptu vamp camp. The ending, meh, I wanted bloodshed. I wanted a more definitive smack down of the bad guys. Overall, I'm happy.

What do you think?