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Showing posts from September, 2011

Paper Covers Rock Book Review

Title: Paper Covers Rock
Author: Jenny Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0385740555

192 pp.

Reading copy via local library

If you're in the mood for a thoughtful, lovely little novel, then pick up a copy of Jenny Hubbard'sPaper Covers Rock.

Alex is a 16 year old student at a boarding school circa 1982. After his best friend Thomas dies in an accident, there are secrets to be kept and lies to be told. There is also English teacher Miss Dovecott, who tries to help Alex with his grief by encouraging him to write poetry. The fact that Alex falls in love with Miss Dovecott just complicates things more.

The novel is written as Alex's journal, an almost stream of consciousness confession of Alex's fears and dreams. There are many literary allusions, primarily Melville's Moby Dick, but Alex's self-mocking at his own pretentiousness makes them accessible to readers not familiar with these works.

The pretty boy …

How Many Banned Books Have You Read?

In honor of Banned Books Week, which is Sept. 24-Oct. 1, I thought I'd see how subversive I am by checking how many banned books I've read (only 17).

If you want to see how subversive you've been by reading books other people think you (or your kids) shouldn't read, I've created a poll.

The books listed are the top 100 banned or challenged (that's librarianspeak for trying to get a book banned) from 2000-2009, as compiled by the American Librarian Association. (You can read more about Banned Books Week here.)

YA Confidential Blog Launch and Contest Alert

YA Confidential is a new blog hosted by 6 YA authors, bringing you (nearly) daily tips and news from the YAsphere. What I'm really excited about is Teen Spy Tuesdays because teens will be talking about their lives and what they're excited about (see this recent interview with 15-year-old Kacey).

And to celebrate their launch, YA Confidential is giving away mega-prizes. Agent critiques! ARCs! Books! All for following an awesome blog. Read all the deets here.

The contest is international and runs until Friday, October 7, 2011. Sekrit prizes will also be awarded for leaving a comment with your sekrit code name. (I think I'm going with Spookygirl.)

When You Shouldn't Read Your Work Out Loud

Revision is a bitch. I'm plugging away on Draft 7 of my WIP and it totally seems like a one-step-forward, two-steps-back endeavor.

But there are tools that writers use to help during revision hell. Critique groups give valuable feedback. Outlining the plot chapter by chapter helps figure out pacing. Another tool writers use is to read their work out loud.  It helps them catch clunky dialog and awkward phrasing.

But I want to put a big ole caveat on the "reading your work out loud" advice. Don't get me wrong. I think reading your work out loud is great advice. But not always.

I have a writer friend who was frustrated after a critique. Someone had slammed her dialog and suggested she read her work out loud. The thing is, my friend had read her work out loud. She felt insulted and hurt that she was already doing what she was "supposed" to be doing and it didn't seem to help with her dialog.

I have a theory why reading out loud wasn't working for my fr…

Debut Author Challenge - August Update

I am happy to report that I am caught up for the Debut Author Challenge! I have read eight books by new authors this year, plus the bonus anthology Teeth: Vampire Tales. I even started the nonfiction book Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. Life has been good.

What I didn't get a chance to do was my own version of summer reading, which meant reading poetry, plays, and graphic novels. You know, to expand my reading horizons. Oh well. Maybe I'll get a chance in the fall now that summer reading is over.

Speaking of fall, I've got some good books to look forward to. I've started Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard (review forthcoming). And Between Shades of Gray by Rupta Sepetys is still sitting on my TBR pile from the SCBWI conference.

What are you looking forward to reading this fall?