Sunday, January 27, 2013

Love and Other Perishable Items Book Review

Title: Love and Other Perishable Items
Author: Laura Buzo
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0375870002

256 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

This novel was originally published in Australia under the title Good Oil, which makes sense once you read the book. The American title makes it sound a little chick-lit, but the book is much smarter and funnier than that.

Fifteen-year-old Amelia takes a part-time job as a cashier at her local supermarket. When cute boy Chris trains her, Amelia falls hard for him. She realizes that charming, funny, smart, and occasionally brooding Chris is twenty-one, and therefore out of her league. But she cannot stop thinking about him. Or talking about him. Or making a fool of herself over him.

Meanwhile, Chris is pining for a girl who broke his heart, watching his friends become more successful than him, and wondering what the hell to do with his life.

The book is written from both Amelia's  and Chris's POV, which reinterprets their relationship from different advantage (and disadvantage) points. It's a very talky book as Chris and Amelia discuss literature, feminism, and what makes them angry. Chris, who originally treats Amelia as a bit of an Eliza Doolittle, finally realizes that Amelia has her own opinions that can teach him a thing or two.

Love and Other Perishable Items is achingly honest in how much a crush can feel like love and how much love can hurt. Chris and Amelia are two characters who should belong together, but shouldn't. You root for them, even though you know that they know how impossible it is. The resolution of their story was oddly satisfying, hopeful but not definite.

I would recommend Love and Other Perishable Items to readers who enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines by John Green or The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tune Book 1: Vanishing Point Book Review

Title: Tune Book 1: Vanishing Point
Author: Derek Kirk Kim
Publisher: FirstSecond
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1596435162

160 pp.

ARC via Netgalley

Another graphic novel book review for graphic novel fans! Derek Kirk Kim's Tune is a webcomic about Andy Go, an art school drop-out whose life gets considerably worse and wacky after he meets a couple of aliens. Tune Book 1: Vanishing Point is the print version of the first ten chapters of Andy's adventure.

Chances are you know at least one person who is like Andy, a pop culture geek who thinks he's talented enough to drop out of school and become successful overnight.

When that doesn't happen, Andy is pressured to find a job, any job, by his parents. Having realized that he is qualified for absolutely nothing, Andy decides to apply for a job at a zoo. Except he doesn't know that this zoo is in another dimension and he's the exhibit.

And, oh yeah, he finds his long-time crush Yumi's diary and discovers that she loves him. But now he's stuck as the main attraction at an alien zoo.

Tune is an absolutely fun read, although I would recommend it to older teens and adults. Derek Kirk Kim has a cool manga style that brings plenty of humor to the black and white illustrations. Book 1 sets up Andy's world and explains how he comes to be a zoo exhibit. Book 2 of Tune comes out in print later this year, but you can read it now online.

If you want a Book 3, check out this video from Derek.

Bonus Video: Derek Kirk Kim explains the situation about Book 3

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cardboard Book Review

Title: Cardboard
Author: Doug TenNapel
Publisher: Graphix
Publication Date: August 1, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0545418737

288 pp.

Reading copy via local library

Ever since I heard Doug TenNapel speak about Cardboard at the ALA conference last summer, I've been dying to read this graphic novel.

I ordered it for the library and devoured it as soon as I could (yeah, I'm a little behind on my book reviews). Cardboard  begins with a down-out-and-out dad who doesn't have the money to buy his son, Cam, a birthday present. Cam's mom has recently passed away, and dad feels like a total failure.

When the dad comes across a mysterious street vendor willing to sell him -- for the last bits of change in his pocket -- a magical cardboard box, the dad is skeptical. But the dad is good with his hands and figures he and Cam can make something cool out of it.

Yes, the cardboard box is magical. Yes, they do make something cool out of it. Yes, it does go all horribly wrong.

This is a great graphic novel for kids and parents. What's unusual is that the main POV is the dad, rather than Cam. There's also a bully-next-door who has a major character arc. Cam is a supporting character for both the dad and the bully rather the main focus, but the different character arcs dovetail together to make a compelling, cohesive story.

With beautiful, full-color artwork, all the characters are distinct and the world-building is inventive.

I highly recommend Cardboard to all graphic novel readers, young or old.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013

Welcome to 2013, everyone!

Another year is upon us, which means fresh starts and big plans.

The big thing for me this year is that the screenplay I wrote last year is going into production later this month!

It's been a rollercoaster getting it to this point, but so worth it. First, major thanks to Kelli Bennett, my producer extraordinaire. She approached me with a crazy idea to make a microbudget film and I said, why not? I've always wanted to write a script that was nonlinear and from multiple points of view and I thought such a script would be perfect for an independent feature. Kelli kept challenging me to make it clearer, make it meaningful, make it better.

There are still challenges to come, distribution being the big one, and I'll keep you posted throughout the year.

On the fiction front, I just got back a critique from agent Mary Kole, via one of the Writer's Digest seminars. I was pleased with what Ms. Kole had to say, and after I revise via her suggestions, I think it's time to send my baby out into the world. Keep posted on that, too.

Professionally, it's never too early to start planning Summer Reading Club for the library. This year the theme is Beneath the Surface. I'm already scouring Pinterest for craft ideas. I'll share some of my favorites with you in the coming months.

May 2013 be full of sunshine for you!


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