Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Abducted by Boy Meets Boy

Well, I have to say I have had the best time during my...


This is one of the best ideas I have had in a long time and I can't wait to make it a tradition every year! 2013 is going to be even better! It is going to be so hard not reading any new David Levithan books through out the next year, but it will be so worth it!

The winner of my Levithan Love-a-thon was Jane A.! She has selected for me to send her The Lover's Dictionary! Congratulations Jane! I hope you love it as much as I do!

My friend Andrea over at the Overstuffed Bookcase also read a David Levithan novel, Boy Meets Boy, this month and wrote about it as part of the Levithan Love-a-thon! Thanks Andrea! Next year, I'm really hoping that I can get some more bloggers to take part in the celebration, and then maybe (just maybe) I'll get so many people to join in that word will get back to Mr. Levithan himself and then maybe I'll email him, and he'll respond, and he'll let me interview him for my blog, and then we'll become friends, and then I'll get added to the list of friends that he sends stories to as Valentine's Day gifts, and that will mean that I'll have a preview of all his future novels!!!

Awe, a girl can only dream!

I started out the month with my favorite Levithan novel, The Lover's Dictionary. Then I got to read three new books; Are We There Yet?, Marly's Ghost, and Every You Every Me. And now I get to finish up the month by re-reading my 2nd favorite Levithan novel, Boy Meets Boy!

There is a popular form of literature that is taking the world by storm right now, and that is Fantasy Dystopian novels. For example series like the Uglies by Scott Westerfield, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Matched by Ally Condy, or XVI by Julia Karr. I've read a lot of these, not all but quite a few, but the only novel that I have read that you can remove the "fantasy" element and feel that it is just a simple Dystopian novel is when I read 1984 by George Orwell. Now, there may not be as many Utopian novels as there are Dystopias, but Boy Meets Boy is a Utopia that shines!

I want to be clear about making this distinction, because just as novels like the Hunger Games are not reality and were never written for the purpose of portraying a reality, the same can be said of Boy Meets Boy. It is not reality and, as far as I know, it was not written to portray a reality. 

This is a town that paints a picture of acceptance in its truest form. Not just the main characters, but the entire town. When the main character, Paul, is describing the town he lives in, one of my favorite parts is when he says; "We used to have a troop of Boy Scouts, but when the Boy Scouts decided gays had no place in their ranks, our Scouts decided the organization had no place in our town; they changed their name [to Joy Scouts] and continued on." 

So aside from the fact that homosexuals are accepted in this community without any question, what makes this book a Utopia? 

Okay, well, this is a fictional town, located near NYC. The cheerleading team is made up of biker chicks that form their pyramids while riding on Harleys. The quarterback of the football team also serves as the reigning homecoming queen named Infinite Darlene. Now, Infinite Darlene doesn't have it easy though. The other drag queens in the school think she is too buff. The high school has the richest janitorial staff in the country due to the fact that the janitors also have excellent day-trading skills on the stock market. The janitors only remain at the high school because of their "compulsion to clean schools".

Levithan also paints the portrait of the ideal New England town. They have an ice cream parlor called "I Scream Parlor" that plays horror films while you wait for your dessert. The cemetery keeps locked boxes next to each grave site. Inside each box is a book where the family and friends can continue to leave messages and updates for their dearly departed. Spiff's Videorama organizes their collection of VHS's (Spiff refuses to update) by his own personal preference. The town's music store is the run the same way. It is owned by a couple that have been together for 20 years, yet they have opposite tastes in music. So they divided the store in two so they can each sell the music they like. 

We are no closer to gaining a reality like that of this fictional town then we are the realities in The Hunger Games or even the corrupt government of 1984. Levithan knows this, and therefore along with this perfect town he includes characters that have realities all their own. 

One of Paul's best friends is Tony. Tony lives in the next town over. When Paul is informing us of his friendship with Tony and the conversation they had the first time they met, he says; "He told me about his school, which was not like my school, and his parents, who were not like my parents...He had [had] told his parents he was going on a church retreat. Then he'd hopped on a train to visit the open doors of the open city."

Tony's parents are religious and worried about the life Tony will have as a gay adolescent. Tony is the perfect contrast to Paul, because he is brave and strong. He is a constant source of "calm" for Paul, in spite of his difficulties at home. And what I love most about this story line, is that even though Tony's parents are reluctant to accept him for who he is, Tony consistently accepts his parents for who they are. He trusts that they do love him in their own way, and you get the sense that he doesn't blame them for anything. 

And, of course, along with showing us these two realities, Levithan also provides us with the gushy romance between Paul and his new found love, Noah. They have the type of relationship that makes me smile and curl into my blanket and wish I had a boyfriend of my very own!

I love that their relationship starts with a prayer when Pual says; "I don't ask for much. I swear. But I would really love Noah to be everything I hope he'll be. Please let him be someone I can groove with, and who wants to groove with me." And then later Paul declares: "I know he's not going to be amazing all the time, but there's more amazingness in him than in anyone else I've known. He makes me want to be amazing, too."
I love this book. I'm glad I got to re-read it. I'm glad I got to buy a signed copy from The Book People when I was down in Austen. And, I'm glad I got to give my old copy to Andrea, and that she read it, and liked it too! 

Boy Meets Boy is a sweet and caring story that makes for a great fast read! I'll be giving it an abduction rating of...

because I for one can't wait to pack my trunks and move out there. My first stop will be the I Scream Parlor!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Abducted by the Last Chance to Enter my Levithan Love-a-thon GIVEAWAY!!!

Sorry I didn't get around to posting yesterday, but I did want to remind everyone real quick that we are within the last 24 hours to enter my Levithan Love-a-thon!

The winner will be selected at 12:00pm CST tomorrow (February 29th), so you have until then to enter!

The winner will get to choose a David Levithan novel, out of the five I reviewed this month, for their prize.

They will be able to choose from:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Abducted by Kate's questions...

Well, people are running around, tagging each other like CRAZY!!! And since I just answered Andrea's questions earlier this week, I really wasn't going to do another one...but I can't say no to a friend!

So Kate, this one's for you! (find these questions at

1. What song would you pick for the soundtrack of the book you're currently reading?

 Man, that is hard because the book I'm reading RIGHT now is Knocked Out By My Nunga-nungas and those girls are British so I have no idea what they are listening to. But I could see Georgia pulling an Emma Stone and busting out some dance moves via "Pocket Full of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield.

2. What drink do you order most at Starbucks?
Java Chip Frappuccino even though I know that it is incredibly horribly terribly bad for me!

3. What literary character would you kiss, which one would you marry and which one would you push off a cliff?
 First off, I would have to marry Neville Longbottom. So that leaves Jamie Fraser to have a hot and steamy make out session with...and to push off a cliff...hmm...well, the only character that is coming to mind is Lissa from Shut Out, but I think pushing her off a cliff would be a little extreme. Maybe I would just trip her with a stick. 

4. Forget Zombies vs. Unicorns.  Are you Team Robots or Team Mermaid?

I don't know, although I love Ariel, mermaids kind of freak out and they are very limited to the water if we are talking true mermaid and not a mermaid who has been transformed and suddenly has feet. So, I'm going to have to go with Team Robots.

5.  What's the last movie you saw in the theater?

Beauty and the Beast 3D

6.  If they were to make a movie out of your life, who would you want play your love interest?

Kate may be the only one not shocked by this answer but I'm going to go ahead and say Jesse Tyler Ferguson. I love me some Gingers!  Although I love guys like Elijah Wood and Matthew Lewis up on the big screen, in my every day life I'm more attracted to guys like JTF.

7.  If you could kidnap an author, which one would it be and what book would you have them write and/or re-write?

God, that is a hard one....I don't know! My instinct is to go with one of my favorite authors just so I could meet them, but then they would hate me! OH OH OH I GOT IT!!!  I would kidnap Stephanie Meyers and have her rewrite the ending to Breaking Dawn to something a little bit more satisfying! That ending was such a cop out Stephanie, and you know it!!!

8. How many books are in your TBR pile?

If we are only talking about books I bought prior to Jan. 1st, the answer is 88. But since then I have probably bought maybe 5 or 8 more books.

9. What's the worst job you've ever had?

I worked at two different daycares back in 2005 and they were both awful! One because of how the place was run and the other because of how they treated their staff.

10.  I want to paint an accent wall in my bedroom Peacock Blue, what color would you recommend for the other 3 walls? :)

Peacock blue is such a strong color that I would paint the other walls Swiss Chocolate White, which is the shade of white I just used on my wall at home! But I would accent with some throw pillows and whatnots that were deep purples and greens.

11.  What is your favorite board game?

My favorite games are Scattagories and Apples to Apples, but they don't involve a board, so when it comes to actual "board" games I would have to go with either the classic; Clue, or Andrea has this great game called Imagine If that I love to play! You have to play with your friends and you write everyones name down on the board, or you can use fictional characters or celebrities, and then you ask questions like "If Katniss was a shoe, what kind of shoe would she be?" or "If Kate was a piece of athletic equipment, what would she be?" In which case the answer to that question, no matter who it is in reference to, is always jock strap!  

And saddly no, I am not attending BEA this year! Maybe next year....maybe...

Abducted by TGIF 2.24.12

This week I have decided to answer the question from TGIF hosted by Ginger at GReads books!

Required Reading: Which book from your school days 
do you remember reading & enjoying? Is there a book published now 
that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?

I do have an answer for this question, but there is a catch...

My favorite book that I remember being required to read in high school was...

The catch is, I don't really remember caring about it when I read it all those years ago. I re-read it, oh man, it must have been three or four years ago now, and I LOVED it! That is when it became one of my favorite books, I only wish I had appreciated it when I first read it.

***OH, I just remembered, when I was a senior in high school we had to read the first chapter of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, and I loved it so much I did go out and buy the book and devoured it!***

Now, as far as what I think should be required reading, I'm going to say pretty much anything by John Green or David Levithan.

They are both such amazingly talented writers, plus all of there books involve a messages of accepting others but also accepting yourself for who you are. But if I had to pick just one, I would be hopelessly optimistic and pick...

Boy Meets Boy is about all forms of acceptance. And with all the dangers to teens today with bullying and teen suicide, I think it could be an important read for them. However, I know that the day a book called "Boy Meets Boy" EVER being included in our schools curriculum is a looooooooooong way off.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Abducted by Andrea's Questions!

One of my best friends, Andrea over at the Overstuffed Bookcase, asked some random book questions on her blog on Monday. So now I wanted to write a real quick post answering her questions! 

So, let's get started...

1. Have you always been a huge reader or is it something that happened recently?

I have always loved reading and writing, but I was never as committed to it as I have been recently. 

2. Can you pinpoint one book that solidified your love for reading?

I'm always embarrassed to admit this, but when I was younger I became obsessed with the Lurlene McDaniel books. She wrote all the series about young kids that were dying these tragic deaths in very romantic ways. I was a very emotional kid so I devoured these books! Of course now, I almost refuse to reread them because I don't want to be forced to realize how pathetic I really was. I will be reading Prey by Lurlene McDaniel soon, but that book has nothing do with kids dying of cancer or anything, it is about a teacher sleeping with her student... so Yay!

3. Do you prefer series or stand alone books?

Stand alones! Definitely! I will read series but I try not to read them until all of them are out because I am not a patient person and I don't like waiting! 

4. Do you write in your books and/or dog-ear the pages or do you like to keep your books looking brand new?

I LOVE writing and underlining in my books! I love for my books to actually look like they have been read! I will not, EVER, dog-ear pages though! I know that sounds weird, but I just can't do it, it feels wrong to me! 

5. What fictional world would you love to live in?

Well, I do love the idea of Narnia, but I'm not crazy! I need technology! I need plumbing! So, I'm going with the world of Harry Potter! Not only do they use all kinds of lovely magic at Hogwarts, but when they go into the muggle world they have electricity!

6. What book are you most looking forward to reading this year?
I don't know... I am excited for the next in the Curse Workers series by Holly Black. 

7. Do you have to read to the end of a chapter or can you set the book down at any point?

Okay, you guys are about to discover how anal I really am! I am obsessed with how many pages are in books, I don't know why, I just am. So, sometimes, yes I do have to get to the end of a chapter before putting a book down, if we are just talking about putting it down to go to the bathroom or get something to drink. But when it comes to putting a book down for the rest of the day, I have to read until I am a certain number of pages from the end. For example if the book is 273 pages long, and I've just started it, then I will try to read either 23 pages that first day so that I have 250 pages left, or I'll read to page 73 so that I can go to bed knowing that I only have 200 pages left. For some reason I have to have those whole rounded numbers of pages left in a book. Crazy right? I know I know! Please don't judge me!

8. Describe what you are using as a bookmark in your current read.

I use whatever I have lying around. In one book I have a Hufflepuff book mark Kate sent me. In another I have a paint sample card from when I was trying to decide what color paint to paint my living room. In another I have the top half of a Chinese restaurant menu I got in the mail.

9. What book would you absolutely never want to be made into a movie or a TV show?

I don't think I have one. I usually get really excited about the prospect of my favorite books being turned into movies, even if they end up being terrible.

10. Do books easily make you cry or do you hardly ever shed a tear while reading?

I'm a cryer! Trust me it does not take much to get me bawling!

11. What book have you recommended the most?

I'm pretty sure that it would have to be The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan. I love that book and I'm on a mission to have everyone I know read it! But I am trying to scale back on how hard I am pushing it because I don't want to cross a line. I'm not saying it is the best book ever written, I'm just saying that for the concept and the way it is written, that it is amazing! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Abducted by Every You, Every Me

*** Don't forget to enter my giveaway of a David Levithan novel! Winner will be announced on February 29th so you have plenty of time to still sign up! Just click HERE!!! ***

My fourth selection for my Levithan Love-a-thon was I believe his most recent novel...

This book made for a very interesting read, but I'm telling you right now, it takes you to a dark dark place!

The story is basically these two guys, Evan and Jack, and this girl, Ariel. Now, Ariel is gone. We don't know where, why, or how. What we do know is that Evan was Ariel's best friend and Jack was her boyfriend, and that they are both not handling her absence very well. Then one day, on his way home, Evan starts to find pictures. He'll just be walking down the street and find a picture in an envelope waiting for him. And he knows they are for him, because one of them is actually of him and some are of Ariel. When Jack gets a picture as well, they have to come together to figure out who is doing this to them. Now, that may not sound too dark, but the story is all told through Evan's perspective and that kid is doing some serious grieving!

Here are some cool things about this book...

1. The title comes from a song of the same name by the British band Placebo. According to Levithan, Placebo's music "very much informed the writing of this book." The song, Every You Every Me was featured on the soundtrack to Cruel Intentions, and here is the video that was made for that movie...

(or at least I hope you can click on the video, at the time of writing this my internet isn't quite cooperating)

2. For this project, Levithan, worked with photographer Jonathan Farmer. It started with the photo that is on the cover of the novel when Levithan saw it on Farmer's refrigerator. Farmer would send Levithan a single photo at a time and then Levithan would write the next section of the book. In the author's note, Levithan wrote; "I never had any idea what photo would come next. And Jonathan had no idea what I was writing. He didn't read a single word until I finished the first draft." That almost seems impossible when you read it because the photos fit so perfectly into the story.

And 3. A good majority of the story is crossed out! Sometimes it is every other line or just certain words, and then sometimes it can be entire paragraphs. In the beginning you get the feeling that the things that are crossed out are whispers. Whispers that represent the difference between what we want/should/need to say and what we actually do say. And also what we want to remember verses the truth. But then, towards the end, those crossed out lines start to feel as if Evan is screaming at himself because he is trying so hard not to think the things he is thinking. Sometimes the lines that are crossed out are lines that other people are saying to him, and that did confuse me at first. But I think it is showing that Evan is choosing not to hear certain things. Also, sometimes the randomness of the narrator's thoughts and the down spiral he is on can be confusing, but it all comes together as being very genuine. 

Every You Every Me is the 9th David Levithan book that I have read and it has definitely left an impact on me. It isn't filled with the abundance of optimism and hope that I like to think of as Levithan's signature style. However, the book is honest and thought provoking and will keep you guessing all the way up until the very end. 

Originally I gave this book a three star rating on goodreads but now I'm going to have to raise it! I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it and I keep trying to work it into conversations as much as I can! So, I'm going to give Every You Every me an abduction rating of...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Abducted by ... a Sex God

***Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway of a David Levithan Novel! Not many people have signed up so your chances are good! Click HERE to enter and the winner will be announced on February 29th! ***

I actually read Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging way back in August of last year, and I mentioned in that review that I was going to space out reading the books, but I had not intended to space them out this much!

I LOVED this book so much!!! I remember liking the first book, thinking it was light and fun, but this book had me in tears! Georgia is crazy! She is just sooooo crazy!!! I couldn't believe half of the things she was saying and doing. I read most of this book at work (if you are a regular reeder of mine you may have noticed that I don't actually do a lot of "working" at work) and I think I might have started to get on the nerves of my co-worker because I could not stop laughing!

It is hard to discuss a book that is a sequel without giving away certain things that happen in the first book.

For example, by the fact that I am reviewing a sequel you now know that Georgia LIVES!!!

I'm kidding! I mean yes, Georgia does live, but at no point is her life truly in jeopardy throughout the first novel.  I was just using that as an example of the types of things that may be spoiled for you by reading a review of a sequel. One thing that you do have to realize though is that this is a series that follows the life of a 14 year old girl through 10 diaries! So of course there are going to be fights, hookups, breakups, and potential cliff hangers. The series starts off Georgia obsessing over Robbie, but as I have been lead to believe, by the end of the series she is going to have three strapping young lads to choose from! I do promise to do my best to not give anything away, but if you would rather stop reading right now, I will try not to be offended.

One of the things that I loved about this book, was the fact that Georgia has such a great group of girlfriends. In this book there is the threat that she will have to move away and her friends really do what they can to support her and make sure she knows that they will miss her. Of course, Georgia (like any average 14 year old) can be a little self-centered sometimes and therefore doesn't always appreciate her friends, especially Jas. I loved Jas, I thought she was a great friend to Georgia. I just wish that Georgia would cut her a little slack from time to time.

And then you have the boys! In this book, Georgia is still pining away for Robbie the Sex God, but we do get our first glimpse (albeit a short one) of Dave the Laugh. This is the part where I did kind of struggle with the book a bit. I mean, in her diary all Georgia ever talks about is what an "arse" she makes of herself every time she is around Robbie. So, I'm sorry, but it did kind of leave me wondering; what does he see in her?

Dave the Laugh on the other hand, I really wanted to like him in this book, but I felt like he came off way too strong! I was rolling my eyes at a lot of the stuff he did. But I'm still holding out on my judgment for him until we get to know him better.

My only real complaint for the series so far is the mom! What is wrong with this woman??? Throughout the first novel we see her flirting with some random handy man guy and in this one she is drooling over some George Clooney look-a-like doctor! Which I mean, Okay, I get it, if he really does look like George Clooney then what did I expect her to do? But with her husband out of town, and how close she came to cheating on him in the first book, and how desperately she was throwing herself at the George Clooney doctor in this one, it just had me a little worried. Is this something that I need to expect in every book that makes up this series? In each of the sequels to come is there another guy around for the mother to fawn all over? Because if so, her and I are going to have issues! It already bothers me that Georgia is as disrespectful as she is to her father, I don't want to be seeing it in the mother as well.

In the end, however, humor wins out over everything! And because this book really had my sides splitting from laughter, I just had to give it an abduction rating of...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Abducted by Feature and Follow 2.17.2012


I just got back from singing some karaoke at a local bar here in town, and I figured what better time to hop around on some blogs before going to bed! And in case anyone is curious, I sang my go to classic song, Jump by Kris Kross, and then sang Little Black Back Pack by Stroke 9. I had never sang Black Back Pack before and I was shaking sooooooo incredibly bad! That is probably why I have the energy to write this blog before passing out!

It is time for another Feature and Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

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This weeks question is...

I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What's the most unique character name you've come across?

I love unique character names but off the top of my head it is hard to think of some! So, I'm going to go with...

I LOVE the character of Odd Thomas from the series of the same name by Dean Koontz. Not only does he have a unique name, but he is a completely original and charming character! I can't wait until the movie comes out because I know it is going to be amazing!!!

I love when authors create first names that don't sound unusual when you are reading them, but when you stop and think about it the names really aren't that common. I mean I don't know anyone with the name of Odd in real life, but when reading the series it never took me out of the book when I read over his name. 

I have read quite a few science fiction and fantasy books where the names are so strange I couldn't even pronounce them! I ultimately will just make up my own nick names for the characters and call them that because it is just so much easier for me.

There is one more unusual character name that I LOVE, but unfortunately I haven't read the books yet. And that is Ford Prefect in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series!

I haven't read the series (although I own all of them and I absolutely will read them this year), I have seen the movie. Mos Def plays him in the 2005 film adaptation and he was hysterical! Once I heard his name in the movie, for some reason, I just fell in love! 

I tried to use the name Ford for the love interest in the project I attempted for NaNoWriMo last November.  But that project never really saw completion. As soon as I do write something worthy of the name, however, I am totally using it!!!

Okay, I have some tidying up to do before I sleep so I really better go. But have a great Friday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Abducted by Marly's Ghost

It is now time for my third post in my...

Levithan Love-a-thon!!!
(you can also check out my reviews of The Lover's Dictionary and Are We There Yet?)


Marly's Ghost is a retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but with a Valentine's Day spin. David Levithan filled the story with his own romantic and beautiful style. God, he is such a fantastic writer! The more I read his books the more I never ever want to have him read anything I ever write because I would die of embarrassment! 

Ben is the main character in the story (aka E"Ben"ezer), and he is grieving the loss of his longtime girlfriend Marly. Marly and Ben met when they were ten and became a couple when they were thirteen. However, they only got to spend three short years together before Marly died of cancer. 

The story picks up on the first Valentine's Day after Marly's death, and we find Ben to be cold and distant from all of his friends and family. Marly's death has affected him greatly and he can't seem to get past it, nor does he want to. In the original story, Ebenezer is just this grouchy old man. But Levithan does an amazing job of portraying Ben in such a way that in spite of how cruel he can be, you feel for him and how much pain he is in.

Marly's ghost comes to Ben and basically says that because Ben can't let her go, she cannot rest in peace. Then the three ghosts come. You know which three ghosts I'm talking about; The Ghost of Love Past, Love Present and Love still to come. They remind Ben of what he had with Marly, show him the truth of how he is hurting the people around him, and show him what will happen to him in the future if he continues down this past of isolation.

I loved all the ways that Levithan mixed his writing with the original work of Dickens. One of my favorite parts in the original is when a young Ebenezer's love, Belle, his breaking off their relationship because she feels he in unsatisfied with her. Levithan did an amazing job of having that conversation play out with the same tone and feeling, but instead of her saying "You would now, never choose to love someone who is poor" she says to him "You would now, never choose to love someone who is dying."

However, I will say that there were a few lines that were too close to the original and therefore felt odd and strange in the modern setting. But other than that, I truly LOVED this book! It had such beautiful writing and I loved the way that Levithan included all the original characters in their own special way. My favorite, was of course Tiny Tim, who in this novel became Tiny and Tim, a young gay couple that are just starting their relationship. 

I loved this book so much that I couldn't put it down. If you aren't a huge fan of the original story, I'm not sure how much you would appreciate this book. But seeing on how I LOVE the original story, I was completely absorbed in this version of it. I'd give Marly's Ghost an abduction rating of... 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Abducted by Levithan Love-a-thon GIVEAWAY!!!

I have decided that I am having so much fun reading the works of David Levithan that it is time to spread the love!

So, I'm hosting a giveaway, but I'm going to keep it as simple as possible.

The giveaway will start today (February 14th) and run through February 28th. The winner will be announced on the last day of my Levithan Love-a-thon, February 29th.

Simply fill out the form below and you will be entered. And if you follow my blog, that will get you an extra entry!

On, February 28th I will announce the winner and send them an email. They will have 48 hours to get back to me with their information and their selection of novel. After 48 hours, if I haven't heard from them I will pick another winner at random.

Once the winner has been determined they will get to choose which one of the 5 David Levithan novels I read for my Levithan Love-a-thon they would like for themselves.

Good Luck!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Abducted by The Name of the Star

My dear friend Kate sent me the audio version of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson for Christmas and I just finished it last week!

The story centers around a young girl named Rory who moves to London from New Orleans to attend a boarding school. Rory is instantly a character that pretty much any one could relate to. She definitely has her own "fish out of water" moments, but she braves them all brilliantly and manages to make friends and find her own place in the school.

At the same time someone is terrorizing the streets with his own brand of Jack the Ripper inspired murders. Before she knows it, Rory is thrust into the investigation and is fighting for her life and the life of those around her.

I had never read Maureen Johnson before, but I have been meaning to. I do read a lot of YA and I'm a huge fan of authors like John Green and Holly Black, and they all seem to be friends. I've seen her books on so many of the blogs that I follow and was very happy to finally get my shot at reading her work. And now, I can easily say that I am fully converted! Johnson's writing was funny and honest.

I have always loved movies and shows that are based on Jack the Ripper so when I heard that his story played a major part in this story I was excited to read it! Johnson did not disappoint! As I said earlier, I had the audio version of this book and I was listening to it in my car. I'm not going to lie, there were some moments that when I was driving around quite late at night, I found rather chilling. Sure the book had its moments of being really funny, and a couple of kissing scenes were rather steamy, but mostly it was a full on ghost story! Which I was not expecting, but I did greatly appreciate!

I also loved all the characters. Rory was charming from the get go, with plenty of stories of her crazy family. And since this is a boarding school we got to meet a lot of her classmates and friends a long the way. My only real complaint was that we didn't get to see more of the character Jazza towards the end of the book. Jazza is Rory's roommate and they form a strong friendship from the beginning of the book. As chaos ensues we see less and less of Jazza. Don't get me wrong, the character isn't completely dropped and when you read the book you will see that everything that happens is for a reason, I'm just saying it was...unfortunate. She is a great friend to Rory so I hope she continues to play a part in the series.

That is the other thing! I did not know when I was reading this that it was going to be a series! YAY!!! I mean, this book works perfectly on its own. There is no doubt about that. Like I said, I had no idea it was going to be part of a trilogy. If someone had told me earlier I must have completely forgot. I didn't find out until I sat down to write this post. The ending of The Name of the Star absolutely lends itself to be a continuing story, but at the end of the novel there is still a sense of completion. If this book was not going to be part of a series, I would be okay. I would be disappointed, but not devastated.

I'm just excited that the story will move on because, call me crazy, but I really really really want something to happen between Rory and Stephen! I don't even know if that is something that has crossed Johnson's mind yet or not! I'm just saying I'd like for it to happen, it would make me very happy!

In this story Rory is seeing her classmate, Jerome, and Stephen is one of the "special" local cops investigating the murders. Stephen has had a rough past, so when we meet him he is kind of on the cold side and all professional. Towards the end he does start to come out of his shell around Rory, and I think she could be the best one to step in and warm his heart right up!

The Name of the Star was an enjoyable read and I can't wait to come back for more.

I will give it an abduction rating of...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Abducted by a Feature & Follow

It has been FOREVER since I have done a blog hop, but a lot of my friends have been doing them lately, so I figured; Hey, why not!?! Also, I am soooooooo close to getting over 100 followers and it would be awesome to finally break that barrier!

Let me start by giving a special shout out to the feature blog:

The BookChowDown is a really cute blog, so congrats to her for being a feature! She also mentioned that she thinks she was the one who submitted the question for the week. That's exciting! I know I submitted a question once, but now I don't quite remember what it was. Hmm...

Anyway, the question for the week was:

Q: What would your prefer: reading your favorite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading 100s of mediocre books? And why? 


Well, as I have mentioned on my blog, time and time again, my favorite book is The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. I think, at last count, I have 10 different copies of this book. All with different covers and different art work. There is even a Hebrew edition on ebay that I have my eye on, but I haven't actually bought it yet. Because as my friends keep reminding me, I don't actually speak Hebrew.

But anyway, even though it is my favorite book, and even though I do try to re-read it once a year. I still think I would rather read 100s of mediocre books, than read my one book over and over again to the point that I was sick of it. The Chronicles of Narnia is such a magical series, and I would never want the Silver Chair to loose that magical quality for me. 

I hope everyone has a great time jumping around on the blog hop! If you decide to follow my blog, please leave me a comment letting me know so that I can return the favor! 


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Abducted by Are We There Yet?

Today is the second Wednesday in February and it is time for my second entry in my...

Levithan Love-a-thon!!!

I explained in the last post that David Levithan writes a lot of his stories as Valentine's Day gifts, so that is why I've declared February my Levithan Love-a-thon month and I will be posting a review on a different one of his books each Wednesday. Last week I reread The Lover's Dictionary, but this week I read Are We There Yet?

This book was nothing like what I thought it was going to be. Let me share the blurb on the back of the book for you...

"Elijah and Danny don't think they have anything in common except their parents. Danny thinks Elijah is a lazy, slacking, clueless dreamer who doesn't know how to make a living. Elijah thinks Danny is a workaholic, stuck-up, soulless drone who doesn't know how to make a life. Yes, they're brothers. But they really can't stand each other. 
Then their parents trick them into taking a trip to Italy together. Nine days of escape. Nine days of somewhere else. 

Elijah and Danny aren't sure it's going to work. Until they each meet a girl - the same girl. Julia. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Welcome to David Levithan's mixed-up, turned-around, never-what-you-expect-world of brothers, Italy, and love - a place where everything unsaid carries the same weight as everything said, where lifelong histories can turn in the course of a minute, and where two brothers always have a chance...if they can only figure out what it is."

So, I knew that the book was going to involve brothers going to Italy, but I thought that the girl Julia was going to play a bigger part of the story. First of all, Julia doesn't even come into the story until page 78 which is almost exactly a third of the way through the book. Mostly the book was about the relationship between the brothers.

The relationship between Elijah and Danny reminded me so much of my relationship with my sisters that it was scary! They love each other but they have also grown apart. I love my sister, I truly do, but there is a wall between us.

"Elijah's problem, in Danny's mind, is that he has no sense of what it takes to make a living.
Danny's problem, in Elijah's mind, is that he has no sense of what it takes to make a life."

When I read that line, I had chills.

 my sister and I at the U2 concert 2 and a half years ago
Siblings are interesting creatures, aren't they? No one can love you the way they can, and no one can hurt you  as easily as they can. And it is hard to explain that to people because they always ask "Well, what did she say? What did she do?" But siblings don't have to do anything!

"If you live with someone all your life, you can tell when you are annoying them. Their face just shuts down. Their words sound almost mechanical, because they are reining in all the other emotions. I think I'd also know if I made Danny happy, but I never make him happy. Ever." 

One thing that Levithan was great at was keeping a true balance throughout the story. Even though, I saw more of myself in the Elijah character, I was never against Danny. I understood completely where both brothers were coming from and I felt and rooted for each of them. And I'm not going to lie, the last page got me chocked up...just a little.

The other amazing thing about this book was that every sentence read like poetry. My neighbors probably think I've been spending the last few days talking to myself, because I couldn't help but read the pages out loud. The language and tone of the book just flows off the pages. You know how when you try to just read a poem in your head it doesn't sound as lyrical as when you read it out loud? That is how I felt about this book. I started reading it at my parents house during the Superbowl and was kind of like "yeah, okay." But, then I came home and started reading it out loud, and I fell in love.

Although I may not have been completely absorbed in the book, I still really loved it! I think it is perfect for everyone out there that has siblings. Especially when those relationships may have been strained. I'd give it an abduction rating of...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Abducted by The Lover's Dictionary

In the last two years, I have been introduced to the writing of David Levithan, and he has come to be one of my favorite authors of all time. I love that he challenges the way a story is told, for himself and for his readers. 

One thing I have learned about Levithan that really makes me love him, is why he writes the majority of his stories. In a lot of the interviews for him that I have read, he talks about the fact that most of the time he starts out writing stories only with the intention to give them out as Valentine's Day gifts for his friends and family. And it is only with their love and encouragement that he goes on to the develop the stories into full novels. 

Seriously, how completely charming is that!?!

Upon learning this, I have since made it my mission in life to read everything he has written! And what is a better time to start then February, the month of Valentine's Day!?!

I am officially declaring February as the month for a...
Levithan Love-a-thon!!!

Every Wednesday I will be posting a new review for each of his books that I am going to read this month. I have set aside The Lover's Dictionary, Are We There Yet?, Marley's Ghost, Every You Every Me, and Boy Meets Boy. 

And it all starts today with The Lover's Dictionary!

God, I love this book! I started reading it today, which means that it counts towards my goals of books to read this year and pages to read this year, but also one day reads and rereads!

When I first marked this book as "currently reading" on my blog this morning my friend Steph commented; "You're rereading this already?" And all I could think was; "Well, yeah! Why not? And hey, July was 7th months ago!!!" 

The Lover's Dictionary is David Levithan's first adult novel (he usually writes Young Adult) and is written in the format of a dictionary. Levithan selects specific words for each letter and uses their definitions to share a piece of the puzzle that makes up relationships.

What I love about this book is that it is honest. It is honest about the big romantic gestures and it is honest about those small more intimate moments. There are moments when the narrator is deliriously happy, but other moments when we find him fearful and angry. Everything is right there, all contained within these 200 pages! I love it!
I gave this book away at my book club's book exchange at Christmas (and I am so glad that Tracy got it and loved it!) and I already bought another copy to give to yet another friend of mine that I know will appreciate it. I think I might make that a tradition, every time I reread this one I'll have to buy a copy to give to yet another friend. I will never loan this book out, I will always just make sure they have their own copy to read. 

-- Okay, wait a second. Breath, Courtney, breath!!! You might be crossing the line to where you are getting too excited and building the book up way too much. You might start scaring people away! Take a step back and reel yourself in! --

...yeah...*shrugs*...I mean this book was'd probably like know...whatever...

Originally when I rated this book I only gave it a four because I was unsatisfied with the end. But upon my rereading of it, I can see that I actually just mis-interpreted it. So this time around The Lover's Dictionary get's an abduction rating of...

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