Monday, May 31, 2010
Release Date: 5/1/2010
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About the Book: It's 1962 and 11-year-old Franny and the rest of the US are living in fear of bombs being dropped and practicing their duck and cover plans. For Franny, things at home are just as confusing. Her younger brother is a perfect saint, her older sister keeps disappearing with her thinking friends at college, the neighborhood thinks her World World Two hero uncle is crazy, and Franny's best friend just might not be her best friend anymore.
Told in a documentary style, with song lyrics, photos, quotes and news clippings, Franny's story weaves with the bigger story of a country in crisis in an engaging new way.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I really think Countdown might be in the running for the Newbery award this year-that's how impressed I was with this book. Even though the setting is 1962, Franny and her family are relateable to any tween today and I fell in love with her voice. The way Ms. Wiles weaves together the broader crisis of the United States with the crisis Franny is facing at home is perfect. There were times I forgot this was a historical setting because there are many things Franny is dealing with that tweens today still deal with-feeling distanced from older siblings, feeling invisible and not appreciated, friends drifting apart, crushes on classmates-I think tweens will easily relate. The book itself is very readable and engaging
While I liked the documentary style and think it's unique, it's the part I'm not sure tween readers will completely understand. There are pictures and quotes, but the only citations for these are in the back of the book, and I doubt many tween readers will really look these up. Without the context to take the quotes, song lyrics or even recognizing the people in the photos, I'm not sure how well readers without much background of the 60's will be able to follow along. There's also not a lot of context at the beginning about why the school is afraid when a siren goes off signaling a duck and cover practice and without that context I think today's readers might be a little lost and not really understand why they were afraid or what was happening.
I think this book would be a great addition to a classroom and would lead to a wonderful discussion. I would pair it with a discussion of the time period and I think students would come away with a good understanding of the time period. But without that discussion, parts of the novel may be lost on some readers. It could also work well for a bookclub and would be a great inter-generational read, especially if tween readers have grandparents who could talk about being a tween in the 60's. I do think it's a great read and I think readers who enjoy great middle grade fiction (especially middle grade books that work well for older readers too) will find something to love in Countdown.
I have a chance for my readers to win a copy of Countdown!
One lucky winner will win a copy of Countdown and a Countdown branded tote!
-Must have US address for shipping
-Must be 13+
-Contest will end midnight, central time, June 15th
Fill out Google Doc below to enter:
Saturday, May 29, 2010
If you're in SW MO (or want to drive!) and would like more info on the event, send me an e-mail and I'll give you more info.
I'm also looking for good author questions to ask for our author Q&A, so if you have any favorite author panel questions, let me know!
Friday, May 28, 2010
It all started Monday afternoon with a mysterious box and a message from 'A.'
The black box says Pretty Little Liars on top and "never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret" on the side.
When I opened it up, there was a message from 'A' that said "some secrets you have to dig for"-and dig I did-through a box of dirt to discover more messages from 'A' and a phone that had text messages from 'A' threatening to reveal my secrets. I'm playing the game as Emily and I have tasks to complete or else 'A' will let my dirt slip!
I've completed two tasks already, but they're getting harder, so I'll need your help! I'll blog about the game, but I'll tweet even more, so be sure to follow me @greenbeanblog on Twitter to help me out and keep my secrets hidden!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Even though I'm a librarian and I know there's a reader for every book, there are some books that just aren't for me-even when reading as a librarian. I tell my teens to not waste their time with books they aren't enjoying and I think I should follow my own advice. I do branch out and read outside of my typical genres, but sometimes I'm just not into a book and I can't bring myself to finish it. My teens love when they can debate with me over a book and argue why they love it! So just because I didn't like these books doesn't mean you won't! (Actually all three of these have rave reviews around the blogosphere, so I guess I'm the weird one!)
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
-The premise sounded unique-the son of a supervillain finds out he's also half superhero and has to go live with his father and learn about being a superhero. There's not too many superhero YA books, but this one just didn't work for me. I found Damien to be annoying, obnoxious and really hard to relate to-most likely because he was grew up as a supervillain so you were cheering for the bad guy-but I just found him not very likeable. Plus, there's going to be a movie version on Disney Channel so I was expecting something a little younger, but this one is not Disney Channel in book and I'm sure there will be many many changes when it hits the small screen to make it more tween-friendly.
Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda
-There just wasn't enough action or dialogue to keep me interested in reading this one. It was sort of a slow start too and if a book isn't really grabbing me, then I have a hard time finishing it. I've read rave reviews on other blogs though, so it's just my personal reading tastes I guess-I actually have some teens I think would be perfect readers for this one and I'm eager to get their feedback.
Fire by Kristen Cashore
-I know, I know-I expected to love it too! But I just couldn't bring myself to finish it-or even really get all that interested. I didn't like Fire, there were too many characters to keep straight and after listening to Graceling with a full cast, Fire on audio just wasn't the same. I tried reading it, I tried the audiobook and I couldn't do either. I hope to get around to reading it at some point-I might have to read it for my state book award committee, but I just didn't love it as much as I loved Graceling or Katsa and Po.
Any books that you're just not that into?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I'm an avid book lover and reader as well as a librarian, so it only makes sense that I have a collection of signed books.
My collection of signed books has grown over the past few years and I have the entire top shelf of my bookshelf dedicated to my signed books. I've been to book fairs, author events, and last year at ALA I came back with tons of signed books! I'm working on my list of authors to visit at this year's conference. Since author signings are one of the best parts of book conferences, I thought I'd share some of my favorite signed books.
The Midnight Mystery by Betty Ren Wright
-I got this book signed at a big author festival I attended in 5th grade. I remember being so excited to meet the authors and this was the first book I ever met the author and got signed, so it holds a very special place in my collection.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, Illustrated by Lane Smith
-This was one of the best moments of ALA last year for me. Both Mr. Scieszka and Mr. Smith were signing so this book is signed by both the author and illustrator which makes it even more special to me. This was one of my favorite books growing up and one I continue to book talk to kids today so having the chance to meet these guys in person was a great librarian moment!
The Year The Swallows Came Early by Kathyrn Fitzmaurice
-I reviewed this book for TeensReadToo.com and the author sent me a lovely note thanking me for my review. We kept in touch a little and did interviews on each other's blogs, so when we found out we'd both be at ALA, I knew I had to be in the signing line for this one. This was a very cool moment for me both as a librarian and reviewer because Ms. Fitzmaurice saw me in line and recognized me and we were so excited to meet in person. We got a picture together and she told the person taking our picture how she loved the review I wrote, which was very cool! She's incredibly sweet, the book is great, and it was a highlight of my ALA experience last year.
So Not Happening by Jenny B Jones
-I don't remember how I first came across Jenny (and yes I can call her by her first name because I'm cool like that!). Her books were in my library, I had teens reading them, I checked them out and thought the books and her blog were hysterical, and started checking in with her blog posts and making comments. We've chatted back and forth and she's someone who I would say is a friend as well as an author. We give book recommendations to each other and she helped out with my library's summer reading program and sent along So Not Happening with a great inscription "Thank you for all you do to promote YA and encourage reading"-it makes me smile every time I see it! I even picked up a signed copy of a book by one of her favorite authors at ALA last year and it was so fun to send it along to her! I haven't met Jenny yet, but she's coming to my library in a couple of weeks for our first author festival and I can't wait to meet her in person!
Evermore by Alyson Noel
-Another book I reviewed for TeensReadToo.com and this time my review ended up as a blurb on the back of the book! Ms. Noel had done an author chat with my library the year before Evermore came out and we had e-mailed back and forth a few times and she helped out with our library's summer reading event a couple of years ago by providing signed book plates for the teens. She let me know the review I wrote was on the back of the book and sent me a copy she signed for me. I even included Evermore in my wedding photos in a picture where I'm reading a book and telling my husband to "wait" while he stands behind me with his hand in the air and rolling his eyes. I haven't met Alyson in person but I hope to someday! She's also the author I own the most signed books from-I also have a signed ARC of Cruel Summer she sent as a thank you for including her books in our summer reading program at the library and I bid on and won a marked up copy of Saving Zoe which is still one of my favorite YA books.
Of course I love all my signed books and I'll be adding to my collection so I'll need to make more space on my shelves. Do you have any signed books that you love? Any author you'd love to add to your collection?
1. You're an English teacher. What book has been the most fun to teach?
This is so incredibly tough to answer as I love to teach almost every one. I would say that Tale of Two Cities is probably the most fun in my British Literature class (this year especially --- the students really got into the symbolism and foreshadowing). In 9th grade it is a toss between Fahrenheit 451 and To Kill a Mockingbird; in 8th grade we study A Midsummer Night's Dream the entire year and that has really been a blast; and in 7th grade I would say I really enjoy teaching The Hobbit (although Tuck Everlasting runs a close second place)
2. What got you interested in blogging?
I am not sure how I found my first book blog (either Becky's Book Reviews or J. Kaye's Book blog) but I remember being just fascinated with the concept. I spent several hours following their blog links. This was in October 2008. I finally got brave enough to post my first blog entry in December of that same year. I have always loved to write - but never thought I would have enough to say on a regular blog. I LOVED the fact that book bloggers have a focus --- and since I love to read, it was a natural fit.
3. If you were stranded on an island, what five books would you take with you?
UGH -- I am horrible at questions like these because inevitably I will list 5 books and then after I hit "send" I will immediately think of another 2 or 3 that I should have considered. I will try to do my best here: 1. The Bible as it would provide much spiritual education that would be necessary in such an environment....2. Something by Dickens - although I am not sure which one. I love his detailed writing style (it would take several re-readings to fully understand and appreciate it all) and his social themes are always worth pondering.....3. Pride and Prejudice. I am not really a Janeite - and I am not a reader of romance novels -- but I do like Austen's satiric wit and I think I might enjoy the romantic getaway if I were stranded for a prolonged period of time.....4. an art history book - although I am not sure which one (I tend to really enjoy the DK books though). I have started to take an interest in art appreciation at this late stage of life and I think I would enjoy a book that would allow me to look at all the lovely paintings and sculptures and perhaps help me to remember civilization and all its beauty.....5. I'm having a hard time with a final book. For some reason Walden keeps coming up. I just recently read that book and I love Thoreau's message of simplicity.
4. If you were at BEA this year, what would be your must-have book to grab?
ok -- this is going to sound really odd...but in addition to my new-found interest in art appreciation, I am also trying to take up photography. When I heard that Rick Sammon was going to be autographing his newest book, Confessions of a Compact Camera Shooter, I was really disappointed that I would not be able to pick that up.
5. What author would you love to have dinner with?
Oh my...another very difficult question. Truth be told, I would be scared to have dinner with any author -- I am shy to begin with and tend to get very tongue-tied when thrust is social settings. However, if I had to choose I might say Elizabeth Kostova. I read Swan Thieves this past winter and really loved it; it actually help inspire my recent interest in art. I am saving the Historian to read for Carl's RIP challenge this fall. She is only a few years younger than I, but she managed to write such a stellar first novel. I am also dabbling in writing at this point in my life and I would love to talk to her about her writing - and the research that she does for each novel - and her story ideas. She strikes me as an author with whom I could be myself and learn so much about the art and craft of writing
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Release Date: 3/15/2010
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About the Book: Eddy knows a lot about science and can spend hours building and inventing. When the local school crossing guard's job is cut, Eddy worries that the intersection will be too dangerous and comes up with an invention to make it safer for the students. His inventions also help him meet new students and discover what it is to be a friend and stand up for himself against school bullies.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Although it's never mentioned in the book, I would guess that Eddy would be a student who is somewhere along the autism spectrum. He has difficulties deciphering social clues, he doesn't like loud noises or crowds, and he is very smart when it comes to science and know lots of random facts in various scientific subjects. I thought Ms. Houtman did a great job making the reader understand what it was like for Eddy-why he didn't like crowds, how some things were more difficult to process.
There is a lot of scientific information as well and there were parts of it I found distracting. Eddy mentions the Latin names of animals, food, etc. and it was somewhat jarring at first. There's also little breaks in the story that include various scientific facts that were somewhat related to the happenings in the book, but served more as a quick fact and something interesting to learn.
Because of all that, I think the book may have a limited audience. As I was reading, I wasn't really sure what tween or young teen reader I would give this book to. But there's a reader for every book. While the audience for this one may be small, I met a couple of young teens during my school visits last week who said they love science and I think they would enjoy this book.
I would be interested to see how a student like Eddy, who sometimes has trouble with abstract concepts, would handle this book. Because I felt the author did a great job with Eddy and explaining things, I think this might be a rare book that readers on the autism spectrum that often have trouble with books being too abstract would have an easier time with.
I also really liked the plot line of Eddy standing up for himself to the bullies and discovering what made a true friend, although I wished it could have been developed a bit more. This one would be good for tweens or younger teens-especially if you have readers who always gravitate towards non-fiction and never try fiction. There's a nice mix of both in this one that's it's sure to please.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by author for review
Monday, May 24, 2010
About the Book:
The Tension of Opposites (Egmont USA) is set in McBride’s hometown of Centerville, Ohio and tells the story of Tessa’s best friend Noelle, who escapes captivity and comes home two years after being declared missing and presumed dead. Upon her return she’s not the same girl Tessa remembered. As Tessa struggles to revive their friendship, she has a hard time balancing her desire to protect Noelle and the need to live her own life.
Check out the book trailer:
And stop by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website and see how you can get involved this year in helping bring kids home.
Release Date: 12/29/2009
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About the Book: Four teens, all on vacation to a resort called Paradise, find their lives intersecting and connecting. Over the next four months, their stories are told and their lives change and come together in ways they never could have imagined.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This book was good and I did enjoy it, but not as much as I had expected to. I've read other novels by Carolyn Mackler and loved them, but while Tangled was a good read, it didn't make me fall in love with it.
It read more like four short stories than a complete novel, which was OK once I got used to the format. I did expect the characters lives to intersect more, but instead the way they came together reminded me of six-degrees of separation. Each one was a separate story and the other characters didn't play a big part-their actions did, but they weren't always present.
I really did enjoy it though and even though it wasn't was I was expecting, it was a good surprise. I think it's an interesting look at how our lives come together and how we effect other people's lives, even if we may not realize it. I did feel that the characters came full circle, which was nice. While I enjoyed Skye and Dakota's stories, I felt Jena and Owen's stories were the strongest-maybe I could just relate to them more and I found Owen's story at the end to be incredibly sweet.
I will say that this is a book I found myself reflecting on and growing to like it more after I finished reading it. It's a very fast read and I think it would be an interesting book for a book group to discuss or lit circle (I think would pair well with 13 Reasons Why). I'd also give it to readers looking for short stories that are connected in some way.
Full Disclosure: Sent by publisher for review, reviewed from final copy
Friday, May 21, 2010
-Smallville will end it's run after the upcoming tenth season. Is it sad that I still have paperback tie-ins for the show in my library collection? I don't know that they really check out and Superman isn't one of my popular comics. But maybe with the tenth season being the last people will want to watch and Superman will gain popularity again. Spiderman and Iron Man seem to have won in popularity lately-with X-Men up there too. Thanks to Cynopsis for the news.
-Walden Media has a deal to adapt Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce. I haven't read the book yet, but it's been getting some award buzz and I've always liked the Walden Media adapations before, so I'm sure they'll do a good job. Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
YALSA’s Fabulous Films for Young Adults Committee, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/fabfilms, is seeking and watching nominations for what will become YALSA’s 2011 Fabulous Films for Young Adults list of recommended films.
The theme is “Other Times/Other Places”. We are looking for films that are science fiction, fantasy and history and appeal to teens. All types of films are welcome from feature films and documentary to animé.
Current nominated titles:
The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I’ll bet you can think of several titles already. We would love to add movies your teens enjoy watching.
Nominate films, http://yalsa.ala.org/forms/fabfilm.php, for review by the selection committee. Please review the selection criteria, http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/booklistsawards/fabfilms/fabfilmspolicies.cfm, if you have questions about whether a title would be a good nomination.
And, don’t forget…
“…to boldly go where no one has gone before.” Star Trek
Two YA bloggers are on this committee-myself and Drea from Book Blather-and we'd love to see the blogosphere represented and nominate titles! Anyone can nominate, so add your favorite films and give Drea and I some great films to watch and vote for this summer!
Matched by Ally Condie
Release Date: 11/30/2010
From Goodreads:In the novel, a 17-year-old girl, who has waited her entire life to be told by a group known as “the Society” who her soul mate is, has her world upended when she discovers she’s in love with someone other than the group’s pick. Don Weisberg, president of Penguin Young Readers Group, along with Lauri Hornik, president and publisher of Dutton Children’s Books, and Julie Strauss-Gabel, associate publisher of Dutton Children’s, all worked on the deal, which is for North American rights. Gabel, who will edit the book, said that it “will make readers crave the passion of uncertainty and cherish the power of the written word.” And Reamer, expectedly perhaps, drew the Meyer parallel, saying reading Matched reminded her of the first time she read Twilight.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I heard about this one a couple months ago and it was sold in a huge deal and being compared to Twilight. I just love the idea of a society who picks soul mates for everyone and what happens if you choose someone else. And then the cover came out and it's gorgeous!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary/Comic Book
Release Date: 5/4/2010
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About the Book: Vita decides she wants to form a band, but first she needs members-and they have to learn to play instruments. Vita recruits band members at her school and they decide to put on a concert. When the band learns that fellow member, Tanya, has leukemia, the band decides to change their concert to a fundraiser for cancer research.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: The good thing about Zebrafish is that it’s never overly preachy about doing good. The characters are diverse and I’m sure readers will find someone to relate to. Tanya’s illness is touched on, but this is not a cancer book. This is more a story about finding friends and putting your talents to work for a good cause.
Because there are a lot of main characters, you never really get to fully know each character and I would love more back story about each of band members. That was my main gripe with the book-I didn't feel like we really got to know the characters very well and I felt there was so much going on, there was a lack of true character development. I’m glad to know there will be another Zebrafish book coming, so hopefully we get to know the band more.
Even though the story deals with some hard topics, the book never feels weighed down by that storyline, which I think will give it lots of appeal for readers who want a realistic story that’s not issue-heavy. The artwork is bright and colorful and will appeal to fans of comics and graphic novels.
I would give this one to tweens looking for a realistic fiction comic book and it would be a great book to start a discussion about fundraising and volunteering.
Full Disclosure: Also reviewed for TeensReadToo.com, reviewed from final copy sent by TeensReadToo.com
Monday, May 17, 2010
Morpheus Road Winner: Jessica L.
Blogoversary Winners: 1st place-April C, 2nd place-Nely, 3rd place-Kate P
Runaway Prize Pack Winner-Jennifer (notes from the library)
All winners have been contacted and should receive their prizes shortly. Congrats and thanks for entering!
This series is scheduled for 6 books and the Internet Movie Database has the The Alchemyst movie listed as in developement for 2012. There is also an Alchemyst Game website narrated by Michael Scott which is a lot of fun. You can find it here.
Book 4 The Necromancer is due out May 25th 2010 and you can bet I will be in line to buy my hardcover and have it finished in one night. (I hope!)
Friday, May 14, 2010
-Pre-sales for Eclipse started Thursday May 13 at midnight on Fandango and MovieTickets.com If you can't wait to get your tickets or you think your theater will sell out, I'm giving you the heads up now-so start ordering! Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.
-Muse is the first band to be named for the Eclipse Soundtrack. Honestly, I'm not a huge Muse fan, but I did enjoy the New Moon Soundtrack more than the one for Twilight. I'm interested to see what the rest of the track listing is. (I've had "Make This Go On Forever" by Snow Patrol on my pretend Eclipse soundtrack since I read the book-just read the scene where Bella kisses Jacob with that playing-I think it's perfect!) Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the news.
-And still more Twilight news. It appears that Summit isn't listening to me and is planning on splitting Breaking Dawn into two movies (groan-really it does not need to be two movies). The only thing holding back the announcement of two movies is the Cullen kids are demanding a bigger pay day. I say good for them-I think they're what make the books more interesting anyway so they deserve more money too, not just the main three. Thanks to Hollywood Reporter for the news.
-A sequel to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie will be made and be in theaters March 25, 2011. The movie will be based on the second book in the series, Roderick Rules. No word yet on what cast members will return. I still haven't seen the movie-did anyone think it? What did you think? Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Release Date: 4/6/2010
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About the Book: One Chicago night two teens meet-both named Will Grayson. One gay, one straight, one moody and depressed, one feeling somewhat lost and left out, but both questioning life and love. After their fateful meeting, their lives begin to intertwine and their lives take them places they never expected.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I had pretty high hopes for this one-two huge YA authors, a great premise, and possibly the most entertaining musical ever written. I've read John Green's books before, I've never read anything by David Levithan, but I had a good idea their writing styles would blend nicely. And they did. I listened to this one on audio because I'm a big fan of one of the narrators (Nick Podehl) so the writing seemed more seamless to me. In the print copy one Will Grayson is written in capital letters and one is not, but that doesn't come through on audio, so the book felt very cohesive in that format.
David Levithan's Will Grayson starts out pretty moody and I found him obnoxious, he grew on me and I really liked him. I'm actually interested in reading more books written by David Levithan after reading this one. John Green's Will Grayson is typical John Green-nerdy, somewhat awkward and doesn't really know much about girls, but he tries. I almost wonder if John Green can write anything other than nerdy boy characters, yet I don't want him to try because he writes it so well. Together, I thought their Will's worked well and the storyline flowed and I liked how everything came together.
I love and adore Tiny Cooper and if Tiny Dancer was a real musical, I would go see it in a heartbeat. Tiny really is the star of this book and I really felt this was more his story than it was the Will's story. That fact sort of threw me off and made the book not work for me so much. I also really liked both Will's parents. While they started out with me not really liking them, I really appreciated how Will's dad and will's mom have great conversations with their kids. Sure the Will's find their parents annoying, but they also still love them and that shows and I really liked that aspect of the book.
I did think the ending was somewhat abrupt-I wasn't ready for it to end and I thought there would be just a bit more and then the credits started playing on my audiobook. It just seemed too sudden to me.
While, I can't comment on David Levithan's books, I don't really think this is John Green's best book. It's still great and I think Tiny Cooper might be one of the greatest character ever written. But I guess after having such high expectations for it, I was left feeling a little disappointed.
As a side note, I remember reading an article about someone who was offended and shocked by the content in this book. There is a lot of language, which I think always surprises me more on audio than when I read a book, but I wasn't really shocked by that. Maybe I wasn't shocked because I've read John Green's books before. Nothing else really stood out to me though and I would give this one to high schooler's no problem.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook from library
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
Rating: 5/5 Stars (I gave this one a Gold Star Award on TeensReadToo.com)
Release Date: 2/1/2010
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About the Book: It’s 1968 and Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are being sent to California to visit the mother that abandoned them soon after Fern was born. The girl’s have grand ideas about a mother who will hug them and take them to Disneyland.
Instead their mother Cecile doesn’t want anything to do with them, cares more about her poetry, and sends them out for Chinese take-out every night. She’s more concerned about her work and sends to girls to a Blank Panther run summer camp during the day. The girls learn about revolution and family in a summer they will never forget.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I really fell hard for this book-I reviewed it for TeensReadToo.com and it recieve a Gold Star award from me-I loved it that much. It’s hard to express how wonderful this book is and how much I adored it. I was pretty sure I would enjoy since I had been hearing a positive buzz around this book. But I was completely unexpected for how much this book would pull me in and not let go-I couldn’t put it down.
This is a quiet book. It’s not an action filled book, and there wasn’t any suspense that made me keep turning pages. It was just the beautifully written story of three sisters discovering their mother and themselves. There was just something about it that really resonated with me as a reader and I had to keep reading this one-I couldn’t stop.
The writing is superb-this is a middle grade novel, but the author never writes down to her audience and the characters are beautifully realistic and the dynamics between the sisters is spot-on. I loved Delphine-I think she’s one of my new favorite characters in children’s lit. In many ways she is wise beyond her years, being the oldest sister and having to care for her younger sisters and mediating their quarrels. But she’s also a child herself and she lets herself finally be a child during this summer. The reader gets to know Delphine so much during the course of the book, that the reader ends up growing with her and Ms. Williams-Garcia pulls it off beautifully.
I think what I loved most, that even though this is a middle-grade tween book, there are so many layers that readers of all ages could read it get something different. I was honestly amazed at how much I fell into this book and how much I loved it.
One Crazy Summer has five starred reviews and I think it's extremely deserving. I really could keep gushing about this book, but instead you should get yourself a copy. This one is on my Newbery Award shortlist (along with The Night Fairy) Highly recommended for tweens and up.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed for TeensReadToo.com
Monday, May 10, 2010
Release Date: 10/13/2009
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About the Book: Cat is in the toughest science class-and she's determined to have a winning project this year. When she's given a picture of an early human on which she has to base her science project, Cat decides to experiment on herself. She will live-and eat-the early hominids.
As Cat starts eating healthier and walking most places, she finds her weight dropping-and guys noticing her more. But the boy that matters is the only one who doesn't.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I really liked Robin Brande's first novel, Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature and I wasn't sure if I would like this one-the premise sounded more science heavy than her first book.
Even though this one has more science, I never felt lost or bored. I really loved Cat and found her likeable. Her self-consciousness about her weight is something I think any girl can relate to as well as her struggle to not always see herself as "fat cat."
There's some romance, but this is more Cat's story more than anything. I think in some ways the romance part of the book dragged the story down in places and took a long time to resolve.
The thing I liked the most was that this book could have gotten very preachy about eating healthy and vegetarianism, but I never felt like it did.
I listened to this one on audio and I really liked the narrator's voice-at first she sounded too old to be teenage Cat, but she grew on me and I really liked listening to it.
Overall, I enjoyed this one but it's not anything that really stood out or stuck with me long after I read it. I found it enjoyable, but nothing spectacular.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from e-audiobook copy purchased from Audible
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Now that my blog has been around for a while, I've noticed something new-I've started getting random packages of books. These are books that I wasn't sent an inquiry about and just randomly were sent to me for review. Some of them come with a letter saying "I hope you will consider this book for review" and some don't have anything with them-just a package of books. I'm very excited to get these books, but I also find it overwhelming. I have a review schedule and a list of books to read and review this year and it's all organized by release date, when I got the book, how/why it was sent to me, etc. When I get these random packages, it adds to my already carefully planned review list. (I try not to take on more inquiries than I can handle-especially since I'm crazy busy outside of my blog!) I also find that often, they're not books I would typically be interested in reading.
I really want to review the books that I've been inquired about and accepted for review first. Sometimes I'll pass on these random books (especially if they're sequels to a book I have yet to read) to my teen library council at work. They love reading and reviewing books for me and I love getting their feedback. Other times I'll keep them in my review pile and try to get to them.
So I'm wondering-do you get random books and what do you with them? Do you add them to your regular review list or do you not review them? What are your thoughts on being sent random books-would you rather have an inquiry to go with it?
(P.S.-I hope this post doesn't sound like I'm ungrateful for receiving these books-I'm not! I'm just the type of person to have everything planned and scheduled and organized, so it throws me off when I get something that's unexpected.)
Friday, May 7, 2010
Moderator: I was wondering how much influence did you have in the casting process?
S. Shepard: I did not have input into the casting process. That was all done on the other side of the country, so I didn’t know who they were going to cast, but when they did cast the girls I was very excited to see who they chose to be Ali, who they chose to be Aria, and Spencer and all of the rest. They don’t necessarily look like the girls that I described in the books but I think that’s okay because they really embody each of the characters and they do a great job playing.
Spencer is a great Spencer; Emily is a great Emily; they might not look precisely like the dolls on the cover but they’re great representations of the girls.
Moderator: How does it feel as an author to have your book come to life on screen?
S. Shepard: It’s pretty crazy. I’ve seen the pilot, that’s the only – I know they’re shooting more episodes but the pilot is the only one that I’ve seen and it is really, really close to the first book; so many little details like Aria’s pet pig Petunia makes an appearance which is in the book which is based on something in my life. Aria comes back from Iceland.
All of the scenes are what I wrote so it was really – I just kind of kept giggling the whole time that I saw it because it was surreal, but really amazing. I almost couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing that this thing that I thought of is now on TV. It’s pretty great.
Moderator: I wanted to know how Pretty Little Liars ended up on ABC Family. When you read the book series it isn’t necessarily the network you would think of right away.
S. Shepard: Well, I may want to turn this over to Catherine for your thoughts too, but from what I’ve seen on ABC Family I do think it’s a good fit there. There is a lot of scandal that happens in Rosewood, which is where Pretty Little Liars is set, but I also think our readers are the ideal ABC Family audience and that’s the channel that they’re watching.
Also, even though Pretty Little Liars is a pretty scandalous series I try to keep a lot of really graphic – some series I think go really, really far and I try rein it in a little and keep things – keep sort of lessons learned and kind of a point to everything and try to make the girls as real as possible.
I am very happy with it being on ABC Family with all of the other great shows that are on there right now. I think it fits in great.
Moderator: I just wanted to know if right now you have any sort of end game for the books. There are sort of a lot of ends so far but what – will there always be an A, et cetera.
S. Shepard: Well –
Moderator: I know you can’t tell me all of that but –
S. Shepard: No, no. The final book Wanted comes out the same day that the show is premiering and it is the conclusion to the series so A will be revealed and a lot of the mysteries will be solved. It is left – it’s left a little creepy and open-ended, but there is an end to the series. I wanted, and I am very happy that my publishers agreed, that we sort of wanted to go out kind of on a high note and not just drag things out and make everything make sense. Yes, the thrilling conclusion which is coming out June 8th and it will be really fun that readers who have hung on from the very beginning will be able to read the very last book and then go right into watching it on TV. I’m very excited for that.
Moderator: From a writer’s standpoint, what’s more dangerous: a pretty girl with secrets or an average-looking girl who knows your secrets?
S. Shepard: Hm…I always think it’s the girl that knows the secret, personally. Well, it depends on what she does with it. In Pretty Little Liars there is a somewhat average looking girl who knows some secrets who – I don’t want to give too much away, but she definitely uses them in ways that aren’t great. I would say knowing someone else’s secret is always a little scarier, at least in Pretty Little Liars world.
Moderator: Okay, fair enough. Can you describe some types of unique conflicts that set the show apart from other teen-oriented series?
S. Shepard: Well, obviously the premise of the show is that four girls, they’re just best friends. Their fifth best friend disappears in 7th grade and she was the ring leader and at least in the book series, and I’m hoping that it goes this way in the TV series. She was not a very nice girl. She really manipulated her friends and had sort of this power over them. As the girls get older now they sort of, at least in the books, they begin to realize she really wasn’t that great of a person and they begin to sort of think about friendships and what that could mean.
The other sort of interesting conflict is that there is this stalker now called A. A, they think at first is their old friend whose name is Alison, but it may not be Alison. They have to figure out who could be doing this to them. They’ve made some enemies in their past. They have a lot of secrets that they don’t want anyone to know about. It’s a lot about who is watching them and are they going to pay for what they did and that kind of stuff which I love writing about so I’m very excited to see it on TV.
Moderator: Are you involved in the screenplay writing or do you oversee that process?
S. Shepard: No, I am not involved in the screenplay writing. Some of the people that I’ve worked with developing Pretty Little Liars, they are very involved so I feel comfortable that it’s not going to go in this like kind of crazy direction that I wouldn’t be happy with because some of these editors and producers I’ve known for a long time.
I did get to read the screenplay pretty early on and I was pretty happy with it. I think it had been through a lot of revisions by then but it was pretty true to the pilot so for me it was like, well, this is just like the book, so of course I’m happy with it. I am not a screenwriter so I did not have a part in that but I think Marlene King, who is the main screenwriter, I think she’s done a great job.
Moderator: So do you know if the TV series is going to try to stay true the books or are they going to be throwing in some unexpected elements?
S. Shepard: Well, [ABC Family publicist] Catherine [Graves] and I were talking about this just before we all got on the call. As far as I know they’re sticking, at least for the first few episodes, right, Catherine?
C. Graves: Yes, right now we’re in – filming episode three. It’s pretty true to the books. There are like a few minor tweaks here and there.
S. Shepard: I was going to say – I would okay if – I think it would be pretty exciting if some things were different – if they took some twists and turns from the books because some things that work in a book don’t really work for TV and it would be kind of fun to see the girls get into different sorts of troubles than they do in the books. We’ll see. I’m not going to be truly upset if something else happens to one of these girls, they get in some kind of different scandal than what’s in the books.
Moderator: Hi. I know that a lot of authors think about what if their books became a movie, but in the aspect of having a series how do you think this will work better for TV since it is like you have a lot of books in the series instead of having just movies?
S. Shepard: I think it will work really well for a series because there is just so much material. I think – every author wants their book to be a movie and they think about it and I’m guilty of that, too.
There is so much going on in the mystery and the back story of all this, it’s so deep that I think it’s perfect for TV because there is a chance to develop all of that. You really wouldn’t have that opportunity in a 90 minute movie unless they did sequel after sequel which would be pretty ridiculous. I think it’s great for TV.
Moderator: Great. My other question is a lot of TV shows, they eventually they come out with different merch, like they have t-shirts and stuff, so just from like a fad point of view, what would you like to see for Pretty Little Liars? Would you want to see like shirts, you could buy or a bobble-head, just crazy stuff like that?
S. Shepard: What I would love to see, and actually what some readers have asked me, are the dolls from the cover, which I don’t know if they’d actually make the dolls of the stars, which would be interesting, too. There is so much in the book about Alison, the best friend who has gone missing, kind of treats her friends like just dolls that she just controls their every move. As a fad I think sort of having Pretty Little Liars dolls would be pretty awesome.
Moderator: Do you hope that your stories have a story of moral lesson for both the characters and readers?
S. Shepard: I’d like to and I think I’ve tried for that. I think the first Pretty Little Liars book, the girls are pretty naughty. Aria gets involved with a teacher and Hanna shoplifts and they seem to just really be in bad places and I’d like to think that by the end of the series they’re better people and they’ve kind of learned to connect with whether Spencer lets go of her issues with her sister because they’re always competing or Emily learns to accept herself, or sort of all of these things.
That’s what’s been really great about doing an eight book series is that I’ve been able to develop these girls and make them grow up a little bit and all that. I hope that readers get that out of the books because there is a lot else to get out of them, the suspense and all of the soapy trouble they get in and stuff like that. I really do think that they have changed and I want that to get through as well.
Moderator: You have mentioned Aria’s Pigtunia doll was sort of from your own life. I wanted to know if there are other little details from your own life that are in the book that might get into the series.
S. Shepard: Well, a really big detail is that it is set – the book series is set in a town called Rosewood which I made up, but it’s a sort of a conglomeration of various little towns around where I lived in Pennsylvania on something called the Main Line. It’s just sort of a main train line outside of Philadelphia. It’s a sort of wealthy, kind of stuck up in a way, but it’s also really beautiful. It has farms, it has lots of lush countrysides and it’s very historic and all these things so every detail about the setting is probably straight from – is definitely straight from something that I experienced while in high school.
I think that’s played over to the series a little bit, obviously it’s not set – it’s not being filmed in Philadelphia or outside Philadelphia, but I think they are trying to keep this sort of small suburban pretty little town where everything seems perfect, but you know it’s not perfect.
Other than that I think there are tons of things and I think I’ll probably notice them more as they come into the series. Like I said Aria just got back from Iceland, which I have traveled to Iceland before, too, so I knew a lot about Iceland and the details from that were definitely in the first series.
Randomly the teacher that she falls for is named Ezra Fitz, and when I was writing book one I was like, oh this isn’t going to be much of anything. Ezra Fitz is actually somebody that I know. He’s somebody that I went to elementary school with and we got back in touch and he said, “You based a character on my name!” There really is an Ezra Fitz in my life. Just little things like that, I think they’re all over the place so that’s what made it so crazy to see it on screen. It’s almost like your journal or something suddenly on television.These little details about your life suddenly like, oh there they are. It’s very strange, so – but great.
Moderator: Yes, definitely. Do you have any plans to write an episode in the future?
S. Shepard: I don’t. I’m not a screenwriter. I would love to give my thoughts. I hope to get out to L.A. while they’re still filming, but I am sticking right now to writing books and leaving the screenwriting to people who know how to do that. I’m working on a new book series right now, too, so I’m a little bit busy.
Moderator: How do you view the relationship between beauty and the weight of hidden secret then?
S. Shepard: Well, I mean I guess for all the girls that I have written about, for instance, Hanna, who is one of the characters, she seems – she has made herself over from seventh grade and now she is really, really beautiful and everything that she wants to do is – she wants to be very, very perfect in all things. She wants to look and act and dress as perfect as she can because she is sort of haunted by this old version of herself, which was sort of dorky and chubby and ugly and the bad teeth and all these things.
She has a couple of ugly secrets but, I guess in her mind to reveal them or to sort of wear them more on her sleeve, it sort of makes her less perfect-seeming and less in control. I think that kind of goes for – I think that’s sort of the theme in the books because these girls all have secrets about themselves that if anybody knew about them it would just – it would shatter either who they are or their relationships with other people or that kind of thing.
The interesting thing is that Alison, who is sort of the girl everybody wants to be, ends up having some pretty juicy secrets of her own that she also never tells anybody, even her friends don’t know about this. A lot of this is talked about in book eight, which is Wanted.
Again, I think it’s for that exact same reason that Hanna kept these secrets. As a perfect girl, as a girl without anything to hide, or a girl without anything sort of visible to other people she was totally in control and she had no weakness. If she would have revealed some of these terrible things to her friends, maybe they wouldn’t have followed her so carefully and jumped at every instruction she gave them. They would have found that she was a little bit more human and normal like everybody else. That is my long-winded answer.
Moderator: Which pretty little liar are you most like do you think?
S. Shepard: I am most like Aria. I mean I think I’m like all of them. When I wrote them, there is a little bit of me in all of them. As far as what I was like in high school, I didn’t have an affair with a teacher, but Aria is kind of artsy. She’s not really interested in being popular and she just wants to be herself. I think at least the last couple of years I high school I was a lot like that.
I identified with her with how all she really wants is just to get out of this little town and the people are all the same. They’re just so perfect and she – that drives a lot of her story and that’s kind of why she falls for someone older and interesting and not like a lacrosse player.
I was very much like that so she is very close to my heart, but all of them really are. I have—I share things with all of them and I think that’s what helped me write about them because I could easily identify with where they were coming from.
Moderator: I’m sure you’re asked this all the time, but I want to know what was the inspiration for the Pretty Little Liars book series, particularly like the mystery elements and those kinds of things?
S. Shepard: I am asked that a lot. It’s always kind of a hard question to answer because in some ways I’m not – it didn’t come together in like a day. I knew that I wanted to write a mystery series and I had some great editors that I was working with and we sort of kicked around ideas and we sort of thought up well, what happens – text messaging – this is five years ago and text messaging was sort of becoming bigger and bigger and what happens if some girls start getting weird texts? Then for the piece of like, oh maybe it was the lost friend. Then I started to develop what this friend could be like and the secrets that she would have on them.
It all kind of came together pretty slowly. I did think about the characters a lot right away and their secrets and things like that. As far as what the series has become I mean, I don’t think I knew from the start that it would be such a mystery with such a back story and so much tragedy. I love what it’s become because I love writing about mysteries; I love reading them.
I also love the part in Pretty Little Liars about sort of the perfect town that’s turned inside out by this kind of stuff. There is a lot in the books about how the media just hounds the girls and how everybody is talking about them and I loved writing about that and that’s just right up my alley.
It was sort of a long process of thinking it out, but I’m happy with the series as a whole.
Moderator: I’d also like to know, writing and book publishing, the whole realm of it, it’s all very competitive field. What do you think is the secret to your success?
S. Shepard: The secret to my success was, well, I was getting an M.F.A. in fiction and my sister was working with Alloy Entertainment, who helped put Pretty Little Liars together and did a lot of publicity for it and sort of managed the series. I knew that I wanted to start writing. I didn’t know how I could get into the business so my sister said, “Well, you know you could talk to some of the people that I know at Alloy.” There was sort of no way to get in touch with them so I decided to crash their Christmas party.
I crashed their Christmas party with my sister and I got to talk to them that way and that was sort of my fist connection with Alloy, which was great. Crash Christmas parties. Honestly, I worked really hard. I did a lot of work for Alloy Entertainment before Pretty Little Liars came along, as well as my regular job, as well as going to school. I think I sort of fought to get projects and I hounded people. I really tried to work as hard as I could on, for instance, Pretty Little Liars getting it ready to get published, or to sell, I guess to get to a publisher.
I think it was a little bit of being in the right place at the right time, being in New York always helps for those who want to get published, but I think it was a lot of hard work, too.
Moderator: Yes, so I know you haven’t been to the set yet but I’m sure you will. When you go to the set are you going to try to get written in for like a cameo role and be in that series so everyone can see the author?
S. Shepard: I would love to. There has been a little bit of talk about that, not – I don’t have any idea what the part would be but I hope it wouldn’t be a speaking part, because, maybe I could say one line or something. I would love that. I mean that’s a chance of a lifetime.
Great, well that’s all the time we have today and thanks again for participating. Again, please remember that Pretty Little Liars debuts on ABC Family, June 8th at 8/7 central.
-Disney Channel is working on movie version of Meg Cabot's Avalon High. Britt Robertson of Life Unexpected as Allie (aka Ellie in the book) and Gregg Sulkin of As the Bell Rings are set to star as Will. There's more info on the cast on the IMDB page. Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.
-Breaking Dawn will be released November 18, 2011. Still no word on if it's one movie or two, but you'd think they would figure that out soon since they have to write the script and film it! With Eclipse coming out in June, I'm not sure why they're not releasing it sooner-seems a long time between movies. Thanks to Cynopsis Kids for the news.
-This one's not YA, but it's great news anyway! Judy Moody is heading to the big screen in 2011. Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer was co-written by Judy Moody author Megan McDonald, so I have hope it will be good and Candlewick will release a tie-in novel in Spring 2011. John Schultz, who directed Aliens in the Attic, is set to direct and production will start in August. Thanks to Candlewick for the news!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Release Date: 5/1/2010
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About the Book: Aura Ambrose fear's she and her mother are just alike. Aura's mother is an artist and schizophrenic and is falling back into a pattern of hallucinations and schizophrenic outbursts which Aura alone is trying to handle. Aura believes that creativity equals crazy and fears that her own artistic talent means that her future is set and she too will suffer from mental illness. As Aura tries to shut out her art, she ends up shutting out the world around her and finds herself drowning.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was so excited when I first heard about this book-because the premise sounded great and because I discovered that Ms. Schindler lives in the same town as me! No authors live where I live, so I was very excited to have a local YA author! But then came the problem of what if her book isn't any good-what would I do?
Luckily, I don't have to worry, because this debut is a great read and an impressive debut novel. The writing is raw and emotional and real. The writing is beautiful-one of my teens mentioned it reminded her of Maggie Stiefvater's writing and I have to agree. That same lyrical poetic style is there.
I have to admit as an adult reading this, I got sort of frustrated with Aura for not getting help sooner. But I do think that was very realistic and how a teen would act. My heart hurt for her and I wanted to reach into the pages and give her a hug and let her know things would be ok. Nothing is easy and this isn't a feel good book-there's hope, but there's also a realistic portrayal how mental illness can effect a family.
The topic of mental illness isn't something that shows up in YA novels that often, and I think A Blue So Dark is a great addition to the YA genre. I would give this to readers who like gritty realistic fiction or issue/problem novels-they'll love it.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Hey all you GreenBean fans out there! I am very honored to be guest-posting on Sarah’s blog today. Or is it guest-blogging? I don’t have a blog (yet) so I am not very in on the blogosphere lingo just yet. But I love blogs, and I keep up with tons of them, so you’d think I would know all about it. Anyway, my name is Abby and I work with Sarah at the library. Incidentally, her husband, Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan, is my writing Critique Partner.
When I became Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan’s Critique Partner, I was excited for several reasons. 1. He is writing a fantasy novel (and reads lots of YA too), and I am writing a YA fantasy novel so I can actually get some great constructive criticism from someone who knows the genre, 2. He’s not my mom or my best friend so he’s not biased and 3. His wife is the most awesome YA librarian around, and may just read and (yikes!) review my book on her blog!! If anyone knows YA books, it’s Ms. GreenBeanTeenQueen. Um, just look at her awesome name. Only a totally cool YA librarian could come up with that name.
Anyway, what I want to talk about today is Girl Power. Okay, okay, I know its all Spice-girly and stuff, but I think it’s very important when it comes to YA literature. I’ve always been drawn to books that feature strong girls. Be they physically strong, or just really independent and smart. I’ve come up with a list of totally kick-butt girls that can hold their own against any boy wizard or demigod they may come in contact with. Some were my role models growing up, plus I’ve snuck in some from today that are still my role models even though I am (way) past my teen years. These girls have taught me that you can be an awesome main character in your life- not just the sidekick.
What She’s In: The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey
Why She Kicks Butt: Lessa pretty much single-handedly brings back the Dragonriders in the first book of the series to battle the flesh-eating spores that fall from the sky called Thread. She is the leader of the Dragonriders along with her totally awesome Queen Dragon, Ramoth. I read this series in middle school and it really helped shape my view on what a leading female character should be, and I still compare many female leads to her to this day.
What She’s In: The Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix (specifically Sabriel)
Why She Kicks Butt: Sabriel is taking over her father’s position as the Abhorsen-her job is to walk into death and keep the dead from crossing over into her world. She is fiercely independent, although a bit shy and an outcast, making much of her journey by herself with only a cat to accompany her. Of course there is a boy, but she is clearly the one in charge. She literally kicks a lot of dead things’ butts too.
What She’s In: The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
Why She Kicks Butt: Mia may not physically kick anyone’s butt, but she totally kicks some mean environmental booty. And that’s big in my book! She is super smart (even though she doesn’t think so), and fights for what she believes in, even if it means taking a few wrong turns along the way. She always learns an important lesson, and seems to be a better person because of it. Plus her rantings and ravings in her diary are super funny.
What She’s In: The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Why She Kicks Butt: In a semi-apocolyptic/dystopian future, Katniss is the sole provider for her mother and sister. She is elected to participate in The Hunger Games in which the contestants fight to the death in order to try to win comfort for their starving families. She is a hunter, scavenger, and survivor. Her exterior is tough and independent, and she really knows how to hold her own against the thugs and warriors trying to kill her. She is the one I’d want to have my back in a fight any day. Or to be my partner when I’m lost. Or to be my strategist. Basically, just having her around me at all times would be nice.
What She’s In: various Buffy books and the Season 8 comic by Joss Whedon
Why She Kicks Butt: Well, she’s the Vampire Slayer. Need I say more? Buffy not only kicks some serious vampire butt, but she also slays the metaphorical demons of high school, family problems, and friendships. She juggles a home, a sister, best friends, various jobs, various boyfriends, as well as saving the world pretty much every day. If that’s not multi-tasking, then I don’t know what is.
Of course all these girls have their own trials to pass, and problems to solve. They are in no way perfect, but that’s what’s awesome about them. They show their flaws, and let us know that you don’t have to be perfect in what you do. You just have to believe in yourself. I picked these girls because they don’t just sit back and whine all day and wish they were oh, say, a vampire. Sure, Mia gets a little whiny, or Buffy gets a little preachy, but ultimately, they are independent and take charge of their lives. I hope some of these girls have or can inspire you in the same way they did me. These girls are my inspirations for my own totally awesome kick-butt characters. If this list isn’t your cup ‘o tea, then who is? What characters inspire you, or have become role models to you? Or how about just some awesome female protagonists that you love? (Oh, and it doesn’t have to be fantasy- that’s just mainly what I read)
Much thanks to Ms. GreenBeanTeenQueen for lending me her space to ramble on about how awesome girls are!