100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Every Tuesday morning from 8:15-9:00 our whole school reads. Everyone. Teachers, too! It is beautiful. We can read whatever we want to read. We also get to talk about what we are reading. Really, it is beautiful. A whole middle school reading makes my book loving teacher heart so happy! My 8th grade monsters love to read, too! It’s all win, really! As soon as I got my hands on Andrew Smith’s latest, I knew what I’d be reading in class. I knew that 100 Sideways Miles was the perfect Tuesday book! Except I was wrong.

It wasn’t a good choice to read in class. Why? Because I couldn’t stop laughing. And the monsters shushed me. A lot. They were not amused. I tried again the next week and it wasn’t any better. I would point to my book and smile, but they were annoyed. I mean, I am the teacher, after all. When it was time to book-talk, I had to explain myself, but I didn’t want to give anything away. You try telling a room full of monsters that you were laughing because this kid named Finn who has seizures because a dead horse fell on him. Or that his mom died when the horse fell on her. And the cussing. Don’t even get me started on the cussing. My inner Jersey girl just dies laughing when I read about Cade’s Stop Trying to Make Us Stop revolution. Let’s just say there are a lot of perfectly placed f-bombs and it only gets better. Once Julia enters the story, it gets even more interesting. True love, a rough past, intense teen longing, and a road trip. 

Yeah, I’m used to getting ‘the look’ from them when I talk Andrew Smith & it’s pretty epic! Then I show them the picture of us and tell them he signed the book for them. It usually goes something like, “This book is completely messed up & so freaking awesome. I just can’t tell you anymore. Yes, I know it’s signed & you need to read it immediately!” Then I make some obnoxiously annoying gesture indicating my head has exploded. Works every time. I keep buying more copies of his books. They get passed around like contraband and it makes me insanely happy. Do they make “I Heart Andrew Smith” t-shirts? Because I need one.

Here is the epic picture of us from the Decatur Book Festival this year. I know I’m smiling like a crazy person. I was so fangirling!

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So, yeah, this wasn’t a typical book review. I get that & I’m fine with it. Let’s call it an OMG Read All the Andrew Smith Books post, that happens to feature 100 Sideways Miles. Go read it right now!

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Almost Night by Emily White

Oh my LOVE! And not only because Almost Night rhymes with Emily White (I love rhymes!). There are dragons, unicorns, good, bad, evil, and a whole bunch of awesome! Fantasy meets up with reality for an epic battle in Almost Night and I can’t wait to read more from the Tales of Morcah!

ALMOST NIGHT by Emily White
Release Date: May 5, 2013
Paperback, 303 pages
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Fiction

Fourteen-year-old Lilly Grey exists in two worlds at the same time. She just doesn’t know it.


As the only albino in a million mile radius, Lilly is used to being different. Pink eyes and white hair aren’t exactly the best camouflage in the harrowing jungles formally known as high school. And yeah, she’s used to being an outcast and seeing the world in a slightly different way, but she never guessed how literally “different” applied to her.

Not until a clan of shape-shifting dragons tell her she’s not just albino. She’s a unicorn and the only mortal alive who can live on both Earth and its antithesis, Morcah. Now all those times she thought she saw a floating brown blotch in the sky or eyes peering out at her from the bark of trees make sense. She’s been seeing Morcah, a land that exists in the exact same spot as Earth, just in a different phase.


But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for this unicorn. As the only one who can live in both phases, she’s also the only one who can bring Morcah–and all its inhabitants–to Earth. And creatures who’ve been trapped on Earth since the Dark Ages are willing to do worse things than kill to make that happen.

Again.
May 5th Chelsea’s Reading Adventures – Review
May 5th A Diary of A Book Addict  – Review
May 6th The Happy Booker – Review
May 7th Books and Bling  – Review
May 8th Like A Bump on A Blog– Review
May 9th I Am A Reader – Interview/Guest Post
May 14th – Karin Baker – LRB Guest Post – Review
May 19th DanaSquare– Review
May 21st Painted Words– Review/Guest Post
May 22nd Bookish– Review
May 23rd Books Complete Me– Review/Playlist
May 26th Booksniffer Book Reviews– Review
May 26th wicked Readings by Tawania– Playlist/Spotlight
May 27th Live To Read– Review
May 27th The Cover Contessa– Interview/GP
May 29th Curling Up With A Good Book– Guest Post/Interview
May 29th Offbeat Vagabond– Review
Emily White is a nerd. 
She prefers her men fully clothed and donning bow-ties, her commas British, her books cheesy with big, overly-dramatic explosions, her characters awkward and endearingly real,* and watching her movies in authentic turn-of-the-century theaters. When not exposing her nerdy self to the world, she’s creating her own friends and putting them in horrible, yet sometimes humorous situations.
Check out her YA Space Opera series starting with Elemental (Spencer Hill Press, 2012), continuing with FAE (February 2014), and ending sometime in the near future with a book she has yet to write. She’s also authored a collection of Steampunk (zombie, werebot romance) flash fiction, if you’re into those kinds of things, titled “To Love or Die in a Steamy-Reamy World.”

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If you buy the book from the link below, I will get a small referral fee from Amazon. This hasn’t happened yet, but hey…who knows!

That Shady Kind of Book Pass

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This week I’ve been proudly watching the monsters pass around A.S. King’s Reality Boy and Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle. They get that kind of shady, far away look in their eyes as they hand it off. They start to whisper without meaning to, because they have the best secret in the whole freaking world,  right in their hands. They act they are doing something so wrong it just has to be right. It’s totally epic. I get it. It’s real. In my head they are passing secrets and truth and everything that really matters when they start that shady kind of book pass.

I remember passing books just like that. The ones that were so amazing they made you feel like you were punched in the face, but somehow in a good way. Books like this are raw. They hurt. You ache when you read these books and you want everyone to read them. You need to share these words with the world.

They really yelled at my teenage brain. The ones that  me feel a little less crazy or weird or unusual. Or, even better, that made me feel that my kind of crazy-weird-unusual wasn’t so messed up after all. These are the kinds of books that made me feel like if “they” knew we were reading books like these, they’d take them away or I’d be in big trouble. These books make us think about our demands, because good books really are about everything.

I’m so freaking proud to be a teacher every day! But, damn, on days like these, I want to scream and yell to anyone that will listen, “LOOK AT THESE AMAZING SASSY HUMANS! They are everything that is everything the world! BE AMAZED BY THEIR AWESOME!”

A bit much? Nope! My monsters are really are that epic.

Thank you, A.S. King. Thank you, Andrew Smith.

You are pretty freaking epic, too!

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Grasshopper Jungle…because #unstoppablecorn is history!

Title: GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE

Author: Andrew Smith
Genre: Fiction | YA | LBGT
Release Date: 2/11/14
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He is stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.
Ultimately, it is up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

 

 


 

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.

February 3rd – The Midnight Garden
February 3rd – The Story Siren
February 4th – Good Choice Reading
February 4th Bookish
February 5th – I Read Banned Books
February 5th – Jenna Does Books
February 6th – Bibliophilia, Please
February 7th – Scott Reads It
February 7th – Live to Read
February 10th Alice Marvels
February 10th The Society
February 11th Lexi Swoons
February 11th A Reader of Fictions
February 12th Roof Beam Reader
February 12th Forever Young Adult
February 13th The Compulsive Reader
February 13th Books and Bling
February 14th Book Chic Club
February 14th The QQQE
February 17th JeanBookNerd
February 17th Ticket to Anywhere
February 18th Sleep Eat Read Books
February 18th Read Now Sleep Later
February 19th Anna Reads
February 19th Word Spelunking
February 20th Books With Bite
February 20th What A Nerd Girl Says
February 21st Wastepaper Prose
February 21st LRB – Guest
February 24th We Are Word Nerds
February 24th Cabin Goddess
February 25th Ex Libris
February 25th Cari’s Book Blog
February 25th A Good Addiction
February 26th YA Reads
February 26th The Young Folks
February 27th Novel Thoughts
February 27th Fangirlish
February 28th Once Upon a Twilight
February 28th Naughty Book Kitties

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).

 

He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, coming February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.


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The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 

So, I totally judged this book by its cover…come on, look at it!

The School for Good and Evil

http://somanchainani.net/

This is an awesome story! Two girls, an isolated village in the woods, a late night kidnapping, a mysterious school full of Good Evers and Evil Nevers, and a masked School Master with a dark secret. Yup, I’m hooked!

This book reminded me of Harry PotterCharlie Bone, and The Grimm Collection, but with such a different and unique twist! I loved Chainani’s spin on the classic fairy tale world, good versus evil, love, and friendship.

So. Much. Fun!

I saved this one for our Thanksgiving trip and I wasn’t disappointed! Excuse the blurry pic, but I was in the car (nope, wasn’t driving…I am too slow for Schmoopy!). I finished it last night & didn’t really want it to end!

Of course, I needed to find out which school I’d end up in, so I went online applied to SEG myself. The results weren’t that shocking, even though I kind of secretly wanted to be a little more evil.

ever

 

I’ll totally read the second book, A World without Princes when it comes out. I even hear the film rights have been acquired; I’d love to see this one made into a movie!

The School for Good and Evil  gets 4 Blings! from me. There were a few spots that left me kind of eh, but overall it was a great read. Middle Schoolers and anyone who is kinda dreamy would totally like it!

4 Blings!

4 Blings!

 

Here’s some more info about the book from http://somanchainani.net/books/:

The School

In 2013, the adventure begins. HarperCollins Children’s Publishers presents THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy by Soman Chainani.

“Invention in overdrive, indulging in a gnarly smackdown of folklore conventions, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is a comedic education by a writer primed to shoot to the head of the class.”

Gregory Maguire, Author of WICKED

“Wow. From the very first sentence, you know you’re entering a thrilling world of strange fantasy. The beautiful Sophie can’t wait to be kidnapped by the mysterious School Master. And I couldn’t wait, either–because I knew I was in for a wild and dangerous fairy tale ride. I loved this book.”

R.L. Stine, Author of GOOSEBUMPS
and FEAR STREET

“A whip-smart debut… If I could bewitch you all to read it, I would. Grade A.”

Tara Fowler, Entertainment Weekly

Hardcover Release: May 14, 2013
Page Count: 496 pages
Reading Level: Ages 9 & up
ISBN-10: 0062104896
ISBN-13: 978-0062104892

Synopsis

“The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

What are you reading? 

 

If you buy the books from the links above, I may get an associate fee from Amazon. It hasn’t happened yet, but hey, a girl can dream.

This blog is all Mandee.

Reality Boy by A.S. King

A. S. King is one of my writing heroes. Her books just amaze me. I don’t know how she does it, but I’m so thankful for the magical way she puts words together. Her books really make the world more awesome!

When Amy at Lady Reader’s Book Stuff asked me to be part of her Red Carpet Book Tour of Reality Boy, I couldn’t say yes fast enough!

Then I got the book in the mail and this happened:
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This was meant to be. Jane’s Addiction is my all time favorite band. OMG! is an understatement!! And, as usual, King’s writing doesn’t disappoint. Reality Boy is freaking EPIC.

I dove right in and was immediately hooked. Gerald was on a reality show when he was five. He had this bad habit of pooping in unusual places, like the dining room table or mom’s favorite shoes, when he was angry. He was crying out for help, but he never really got the help he needed. Even all these years later people still call him Crapper. It haunts him. His older sister, Tasha, tortures him constantly and relentlessly, his other sister, Lisi, took off for college on the other side of the world as soon as she could. His dad works and drinks to forget, and his mom totally ignores all of the insanely disgusting things Tasha does (think loud bedroom noises coming from the basement while the rest of the family is eating dinner). Gerald is trying to keep himself together, use techniques he’s learning in anger management,

I really wanted to jump into Gerald’s life and save him. Ugh! I had to put the book down several times because I was so freaking angry. That’s a great story!

Reality Boy is a must read. A total 5 Bling Book!

If you click the link above, I will earn a small profit from Amazon. Any proceeds are used to buy books for my 8th grader students and for blog prizes.

A.S. King’s Reality Boy & a Contest, too!

I love every A. S. King book I’ve ever read. She is a total fave of mine! My friend L. Moon and I call her “asking” and it makes us laugh (because we are 12). So, when the mega fabulous Amy at Lady Reader’s Bookstuff asked me to be a stop on her book tour, I said, “Heck Yes!” (and totally screamed a little as I was responding to her email, because, OMG A.S. King’s new book in my hands so super fast yay!)

Check out all of this awesome going on for REALITY BOY! It totally rocks!




Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he is still haunted by his rage-filled youth—, which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. 
Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he has tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone is just waiting for him to snap…and he is starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that. 
 In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.

JL


A.S. King is the author of the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner, Ask the Passengers, Everybody Sees the Ants, a 2012 ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and Andre Norton Award nominee, and the Edgar Award nominated, 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz.

 She is also the author of the ALA Best Books for Young Adults Dust of 100 Dogs, an adult short story collection, Monica Never Shuts Up, and the upcoming REALITY BOY (2013). 


After a decade living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children.


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Just like Hazel

Just like Hazel’s love for An Imperial Affliction, I can’t stop reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I’m listening to it in the car now (I saw it at the library and grabbed it!). It is beauty and magic and perfection all at once. It leaves me, quite like Hazel’s constant state, breathless.

When one of my dear friends mom was diagnosed with the big ugly C, we watched ever cancer movie there was. It helped her cope and heal with the giant suck fest that is cancer. When my dad got a similar diagnosis some years later, our healing time was bad comedy & lame SciFi. I didn’t read cancer books or watch cancer movies. I got angry, sad, and very afraid. So, when I heard Green’s new book was, in fact, about the big C, I ditched it for a long time. I wasn’t going to read a cancer book. But, I love John Green. I love the way he makes me laugh right after he made me cry or scream eff bombs, even though I’m trying not to cuss (you can take the girl out of Jersey…). That’s pretty dang epic. So, of course, it was just a matter of time before TFiOS made its way to my reading pile. It is, like An Imperial Affliction, the book, my book. It has become part of me in a way that a tiny few books ever have or ever will.

This was me yesterday, pulled over on the side of the road, crying, & trying to breathe

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I know the story. I know what’s going to happen. It makes it worse, actually, the knowing. And I love/hate it.

What’s your book?

I’m blogging along with Effy Wild this month. Join us!
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AWESOME YALL FEST PIC ROUND UP!

My super adorable friend Laura & I set out on an adventure to Charleston, SC for YALL FEST! It was an awesome trip filled with tons of book love! Here are a few of our favorite pics from the weekend. Yay books!

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My new YALL FEST shirt

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Cassie Clare & Holly Black

My ticket to meet Cassie Clare. Alas, it wasn’t in the cards that day. Sad Panda!

Adam Gidwitz rocks Grimm with tons of sass! Love it!

Trenton Lee Stewart! Love his Mysterious Benedict Society series!!

David Levithan. I love the way he makes the world a better place with every awesome book he writes!

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Gayle Forman…OMG! Love her!

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Laura & I on a bike taxi! Check out the cool reflection in her glasses! So fun!

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Carrie Ryan…then I died! Love her!! Also, LOVE HER!

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The coolest YALL FEST volunteer around!

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Laura with her fave, Stephanie Perkins

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Laura with Carrie Ryan. Did I mention that I love these two?!?!

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My new favorite necklace by the amazing www.hebeldesign.com Love her work!

Today I am…talking about bullying at Uniquely Moi Books!

I stopped by Uniquely Moi books to give my teacher perspective on bullying.

Check it out and you could win a copy of A.S. King’s epically awesome EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS. ANTS is an awesome book about bullying, the kind of wounds we can see, and the kind scars that we can’t. (And also because I totally love everything she writes and you should too!)

 Read the post here!