“So talented!” “Derivative and unimaginative.” Did both read the same short story?!
Mr. Madison has told Laila all through high school to be proud of her writing style, but now a renowned novelist substitute teaching that creative writing class says the New York City teen’s work is more sci-fi fanfic than true storytelling. Ouch.
Urged by Nazarenko to get out of her comfort zone, Laila timidly goes to a club with her friends for the first time, meets lovely Hannah, and tries flirting, kissing, escaping her Ecuadorian father’s curfew demands.
Laila’s admission to Bowdoin’s prestigious writing program hinges on this final creative writing grade. May inspiration from Hannah and the city night sky be enough!
When have you decided to move from draft to publicly seen work? **kmm
Book info: Final Draft / Riley Redgate. Amulet Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
First day at her new high school! Excited? Nervous? Not when it repeats day after day after…
Andie is starting her senior year at Punxsutawney High (yep, same town as the famous groundhog), so sure that Colton will continue their summer movie-theater flirtation, but no.
Movie-obsessed Mom named her for the “Pretty in Pink” redhead, but Andie’s life has turned into “Groundhog Day” as she awakens the next morning and the next and the next… for the first day of school, over and over again!
Maybe Mom’s wish for Andie’s first kiss to be with her true love has something to do with it….hmmm.
Published last week, just in time for Punxsutawney’s annual moment in the weather world’s spotlight!
If you had the chance to repeat a day and only you knew it, what would you change? **kmm
Book info: Pretty in Punxsutawney / Laurie Boyle Crompton. Blink Young Adult Books, 2019. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Repeating her first day of school over and over, Andie realizes that only her true love’s kiss will break her out of this “Groundhog Day” loop, but as a new senior at Punxsutawney High, she finds cliques that shut out others and her summer crush taken!
Mom loves to use classic movies as life lessons, but Andie thinks the wrong guy goes to the prom with Andie (yes, same name) in “Pretty in Pink.”
Andie is certain that cute Colton is attracted to her during their summer at the movie theater, but as soon as he starts showing her around the school, Kaia moves in.
Waking up the next morning to her parents urging her to get ready for the first day of school, Andie tries a different outfit, a different way to stay around Colton, but same results.
Repeat, repeat – try to be a cheerleader, a goth kid, on yearbook staff, but Kaia still gets Colton.
When Andie realizes who she really cares for and that her classmates have lots in common if they could see past clique labels (thank you, “Breakfast Club”!), she uses everything she’s learned throughout these many, many do-over days to make it happen.
But how will someone fall in love with her – in just one day?
Book info: My So-Called Bollywood Life / Nisha Sharma. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Meet her great love before she turn 18? Ha! When Winnie finds “perfect boyfriend” Raj with another girl, all she has left for their senior year is Film Club, but their new advisor is taking Raj’s ideas instead of hers!
Not the Film Festival chair this year? She needs that on her resume for NYU Film School application!
Her writing about great Bollywood movies will never be a career? Raj is such a jerk!
Could Dev be the one prophesied for her? Winnie’s birthday is getting nearer, but she doesn’t want to rush…
Dramatic events at the Festival fundraiser dance have the whole school abuzz, the Indian community in their New Jersey town wonders about the prophesy, and Winnie must use the best of Bollywood’s plot twists to make everything turn out right.
Inspired by women filmmakers,
Enraptured by cutest guy at school,
Long beloved by his twin brother?!
Twinkle knows she’s just a background character at her Colorado high school, child of immigrants from India, longing to attend film school (big dream, small chance).
When classmate Sahil (twin of heartthrob Neil) offers to produce Twinkle’s short film for the school festival, of course she accepts – casting (almost former) bff Maddie in the lead for gender-reversed Dracula is inspired, Sahil is clever and funny and not Neal, but…
Happy book birthday to From Twinkle, With Love by the author of When Dimple Met Rishi (my no-spoiler recommendation here)
When has the unexpected become the best thing ever, for you?
Book info: From Twinkle With Love / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: So many regrets in Twinkle’s life – from being a burden on her hardworking parents to letting best friend Maddie slip away into the popular crowd – but making a film for their school festival may let the Indian-American teen finally show her true talents (and impress her crush Neil and get Maddie back).
If only she can stay true to herself… and not get distracted by her attentive producer Sahil (Neil’s twin brother) or the ‘anonymous’ emails from N (who must be Neil, right?) or grandmother Dadi’s unnerving pronouncements from the beyond.
Waiting for that car to return from the hanging forest,
waiting to finish school and leave this tiny town,
waiting for the right guy to notice her (really notice)…
Jacklin wishes she could go to Europe like her sister did (why’d she come home?) or actually get paid for her job at the town’s failing grocery store.
Is Ma just waiting for Jacklin and Trudy to leave town for good?
Is renovating the old drive-in movie show with Jeremiah and Roly worthwhile?
What about that guy camping in the suicide grove of the national forest nearby?
Look for this summer tale of interpersonal drama and some questionable choices in hardcover or paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore (more opening every week in USA!)
What are you waiting for today?
Book info: In-Between Days / Vikki Wakefield. Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
“Be your true self!”
“Act like a star!”
“Stay alive!” Two out of three’s not bad…
Lulu hasn’t been in 1920s Hollywood long, but she knows there are schemers who’ll do anything to get a role with the big movie studios – absolutely anything!
After her run-in with gangsters, hidden identities, and murderous gossip in her first mystery as Girl About Town (my no-spoilers review here), the New York native has her eyes wide open and her exit route planned during this raucous extended audition turned deadly.
Glitz, glamour, and gore – ready for your close-up?
Book info: Murder Among the Stars (Lulu Kelly mysteries, book 2) / Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan. Atheneum Books, 2017. [Adam’s bio] [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Playing footsies with a corpse wasn’t what Lulu had expected at this elegant dinner, but the young actress finds even more bizarre things during the weekend-long audition for a movie contract, as she’s drawn into another mystery in 1920s Hollywood.
Imagine being wealthy enough to build a California castle, to own a menagerie with a real lion, to flaunt your mistress in Society, to give expensive gifts to every guest without blinking an eyelash!
For newspaper and movie magnate William Randolph Hearst, this extravagant house-party is just a simple favor for writer Anita Loos, until actresses start being murdered.
For new-to-Hollywood Lulu Kelly, it’s her chance for a starring role, if the 17 year old can outlast the other twenty starlets trying to win over WR and Marion.
For Lulu’s boyfriend Freddie the private eye, this huge party at the remote estate means too many suspects and too many motives for blackmail and murder.
Why is WR’s 10 year old niece Patricia so interested in crimes and murders?
How can anyone believe that the first suspect nabbed for the first murder did it?
Who invited mobster Sal to this party and does anyone know his connection to Lulu?
Dive into the intrigue and gossip of movie legends in this second Lulu Kelly mystery, as silver screen secrets become oh so deadly.
Planning the best day ever at New York ComicCon!
Telling her how he truly feels about her!
Getting cut off by a random guy…
Next-door neighbors and comic creators together, Roxy and Graham enjoy fan fiction based on the Althena universe, keep their grades up, and can’t wait to go to ComicCon! (p.s. That’s where he will tell her how much he cares for her – until Devin crashes their group!)
Don’t wait till BookCon at NYCC to pick up this June 2016 release! Visit at your favorite local library or independent bookstore today to see if Roxy and Graham get any tips from famous cartoonists and if she ever figures out how he feels about her!
Been to a Con?
Book info: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love / Sarvenaz Tash. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Graham realizes that he’s fallen for girl next door/ best friend /comic co-creator Roxy, but his plans to tell her on the perfect New York ComicCon day are foiled by a handsome British student.
It’s a miracle that famously reclusive artist-author Zinc is scheduled to appear at NYCC, years after his legendary Althena comic went dark. It’s a tragedy that a cool Brit runs into their group and decides to tag along while flirting with Roxy!
Graham and Casey can grab those limited-seating tickets for Zinc, right?
How can Graham convince Roxy to sneak past her conservative parents and skip school for another day of ComicCon?
Is there any way to get her away from Devin without looking like a jerk?
Somehow, this real-life relationship stuff is so much more complicated than the ones that he and Roxy write and draw in their comic series or any of the romantic comedy movies that Graham’s late mother loved so much. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Oh, to be a movie star!
Oh, to have enough to eat, at last!
Oh no! Murder witnesses have few choices…
This story set in the early days of “talkies” during the Great Depression is told by rising starlet Lulu (formerly Lucille in the Lower East Side tenements) and by Freddie the hobo (otherwise known as the richest man in America’s sole heir) after they both witness killings that change their lives.
Head on over to Hollywood to see how their paths intersect far from their New York City homes and former social circles, as murder and mystery go from script to reality in Lulu’s latest film.
My book talk: On the same night in 1931, two teens witness murders in the Big Apple – she is whisked away from slum to Hollywood while he leaves luxury behind to hit the rails as a hobo.
Elevated from poverty to movie starlet, Mob murder witness Lulu must keep quiet so her family in New York City will stay alive.
Running away from his wealthy family, Freddie bums his way from New York to California, trying to escape the murder he saw committed in his own home.
On the set of “Girl About Town” in Hollywood, a prop gun suddenly fires a real bullet into a rival starlet, and Lulu pulled the trigger!
All the smoke and mirrors, gossip columnists and sugar daddies, rising stars and wannabees of Hollywood’s golden age get the full cinematic treatment as Lulu and Freddie try to find out who loaded that gun and who wants them both to pay for someone else’s crime. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Calling them “lies” is so…caustic.
Colette stretches the truth about her movie-star mom, long-absent dad, and winsome little brother – to protect them, of course. Or to keep the world from discovering how unspecial she is. Or none of the above. Definitely an “unreliable narrator” here.
Luckily, Sonya Sones is honest when she writes a “Dear Teen Me” letter to tell her younger self that her experiences would become part of much-loved novels-in-verse someday.
Book info: To Be Perfectly Honest: a Novel Based on an Untrue Story / Sonya Sones. Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2013. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Colette’s movie-star mom is entirely gorgeous, the 15-year-old isn’t, but invents some crazy tales to make herself more interesting. When it counts, though, Colette may have told too many lies to get ever back to the truth.
Teen guys in L.A. seem interested in only one thing, but Colette refuses to be just another conquest. She might even miss their groping if Mom insists on dragging her and little brother Will along to the small town where her next film is being shot. She will die of boredom, truly.
Thankfully, a gorgeous guy on a motorcycle starts talking to her in the town park. She certainly can’t let him know who her mom really is, so the stories start flowing again.
Connor is so sweet and thoughtful, a great pal to Will, and so handsome. Colette senses that he has a secret sorrow, and it nearly breaks her heart when he finally tells her. Loving the most special girl in the world is on his ‘bucket list’ he says, and Colette is the one.
Should she let Connor be the one for her?
What if the doctors are wrong and his time is ticking away too fast?
Would he still adore her if he knew how many lies she’s told him?
“But there’s no law against
a girl making up stories.
And I sure am lucky
Or I’d be serving
a life sentence by now.”
Sones gives readers a charmingly unreliable narrator in this compulsively readable novel-in-verse – sometimes it’s smoke and mirrors, sometimes it’s truer than true. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Discussion of “best-ever” movies – got one to contribute?
With Daniel Harmon’s annotated, illustrated book filled with pop culture top ten lists, you can hold your own in the conversation, discover new (classic) films and music to enjoy, and yell at the book occasionally for leaving your favorite off a given list!
Read a sample chapter “Eat, Pray, Love, Spelunk: Tag Along on a Life-Changing Vacation” here, and look for this June 2013 release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore so you can top-ten your way to pop culture knowledge.
What top ten list would you create for the ultimate pop culture experience?
Book info: Super Pop! Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays / Daniel Harmon. Zest Books, 2013. [author info] [publisher site] [author video]
My book talk: Want to outwit death, watch the world unfold, visit magical fictional worlds, or find speeches worth heeding? Super Pop has top ten media lists for all these pop culture topics and dozens more.
From the serious to the sublimely silly, these “ten best” lists draw from the best (or worst) movies, video games, podcasts, books, television shows, and songs of the past several decades. What sets this apart from everyday top ten listings are the author’s thoughtful, funny, and often irreverent annotations explaining why each item made it onto a list.
Zest Books editor Harmon divides his annotated lists into five groups – Be More Interesting, Get Smart(er), Stop Doing It Wrong, Find Happiness, and Survive the Holidays – and includes resource material for further investigation, lots of quirky sketches (like the TV-headed Charlie Brown regarding his spindly Christmas tree), and a great index.
Whether it’s “pithy explanations of really complex things” or “smartest inanimate objects in the history of pop culture” readers will find intriguing lists of books, films, games, television shows, and music to increase their knowledge and appreciation of our shared modern-day culture – counted down from 10 to 1 in classic Top Ten fashion, of course. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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