Sunday, May 9, 2010

Winner of "Getting Parents Out Of The Way" GIVEAWAY

Congratulations to Courtney H. chose her entry as the winner of this giveaway.  She will receive a copy of DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by C.J. Omololu.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Most Creative Way To Get Parents Out Of The Way - GIVEAWAY

In honor of the New York Times article about lack of parental involvement in young adult literature, I thought I'd host a giveaway.

I want everyone out there to put on their thinking caps! Can you come up with the young adult novel that gets the parents out of the way in a really creative way?  If so, here is what you do:

1. Create a post on your blog about parents in young adult literature highlighting the book you choose.  You don't have to give away the method the author uses to get rid of the parents since it might spoil the book for people, so...we'll just assume it is creative since you've chosen it.

2. Come back here and use the Thumbnail Linky to link your post to this blog.

3. Post your entry by Friday, May 7th

4. The winner will be chosen randomly from all entries and will receive a copy of DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by C.J. Omololu, which just happens to be my choice for this contest.  I'll link my choice first so you can see how it works.  (For the Thumbnail Linky you'll need a picture of your book cover ready to upload.  In the Caption be sure to put your name and blog.  See my example below.)

Parents in Young Adult Literature - Response to the New York Times Article

A couple of bloggers have already discussed the parent issue in response to the New York Times article from April 1st, 2010.  Steph Su and Donna @ Bites did great jobs going into detail about the subject. 

Here are my thoughts:

Long gone are the days of Leave It To Beaver. Very few children have the luxury of a stay-at-home mother and a father that works a 9-5 job. Instead of constant supervision, after-school snacks, and nightly family dinners, today's youth must cope with parents that leave for work before they leave for school, coming home to an empty house, and single-parent families.  Can children grow into well-adjusted, responsible citizens after living in this environment? Absolutely. But, would these children be able to relate to a story about a young adult with total support from their parents in all aspects of their lives? Maybe not.

Young Adult Literature is unique.  While a lot of adults do read YAL, it is marketed for the young adult.  It is written with that specific age group in mind.  That means, the book needs to be written in a way that teens will believe in the world the author creates.  In many cases, parents aren't the driving force in their childrens' lives. They are forced to act as the adult in the relationship and become self-sufficient.

Another thing to consider is a young adult novel, it is important for the young adult be the one to solve the problem of the story. Teens need to see examples of other smart, resourceful teens thinking for themselves. What fun would it be to read a story where all the problems are solves for the kid by the adults? Think about THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton. Would it be the classic that it is today if the police or school officials gathered the "Greasers" and the "Socs" up and sat them down to a friendly mediation meeting? No, the kids, as violent and dangerous as it was, handled the situation themselves. That is what we want to read.

So, what do you guys think? Do you miss having a responsible parent in the forefront of the young adult novel of today?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

YA Community Thanksgiving - Better Late Than Never

Adele of Persnickety Snark posted her thoughts on the positives of the YA Blogging Community. I wanted to post something about it right after I read it, but never got around to it.  Well, this weekend I was giving some thought to this blog and finally made a decision about what I am going to do with it.

Since I finally got my original blog transferred to a self-hosted, dedicated domain (Karin's Book Nook), I decided to keep it as my primary blog for book reviews and such. I have had it for over 3 years and feel it is established. So, The Book Jacket will contain SOME book reviews, giveaways, book news, and commentaries about books and the blogging community. 

As I mentioned above, I've been blogging about young adult literature for over 3 years. In that time there has been several instances of back-handed comments, hurt feelings, and jealousy between bloggers. I definitely don't get involved in the drama floats around the blogosphere. I'll occasionally read the controversial posts or comments, but rarely comment on them myself. In a way, this puts me in a self-created bubble, allows me to just have fun.

Here are some of the reasons I'm thankful to be involved and included with the young adult blogging community.

  • Having a blog has provided the motivation I need to read, read, read.  By reading and reviewing young adult books, I'm better able to do my job as a middle school librarian. Being able to suggest books to students is very important.  There is nothing like the feeling of handing a kid a book one day and having them come back to you a couple days later to tell you how much they loved it. 
  • Even with reading book review journals like School Library Journal, Booklist, and VOYA, it is impossible to know about all the books that are released each month.  Blogging provides another resource for me. I have had a much better knowledge of upcoming releases since reading blogs.
  • Authors - I love talking to authors.  I've had the pleasure of interviewing several. My favorite interviews were with Maggie Stiefvater and Patrick Ness.  In addition to the interviews, I had the pleasure of communicating with some authors by using Twitter.  Kami Garcia always has nice things to say and the awesome Carrie Ryan really came through for me when I had some questions about revising a manuscript.
  • Other Bloggers - I enjoy swapping books and exchanging messages with several of my fellow young adult book bloggers. I'd like to have more of a relationship with some, but I don't really know how to go about it.  I don't want to come off as stalkerish and creepy, so I kind of just keep to myself.  Maybe after meeting and socializing with some of them at BEA I'll feel comfortable calling them my friends.  At this point it seems a little presumptuous of me to call them friends. I have no idea how they feel about me, so... Anyway, I'd like to include the following bloggers as my acquaintances (hopefully soon-to-be friends): The Ravenous Reader, Reverie Book Reviews, The Story Siren, Sharon Loves Books and Cats, Mrs. DeRaps, Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf, Kristin @ Bookworming in the 21st Century.
  • Information - I tell you what. News travels fast.  When a book cover is released, it shows up on several blogs.  I love how we all share information. 
  • Reading Suggestions - I will never be at a loss for something to read.  Even though I have piles and piles of books around the house, I'm not always in the mood for what I have.  With all the blogs I follow, it is easy to get suggestions for things to read.  Both in and out of my reading comfort zones.
  • Blog Designs - I'm not very good at this yet, but after seeing so many beautiful designs out there I have decided to learn.  I can't wait to take a class on design or Photoshop or something.
So, there is my list of things I'm thankful for.  Thanks to everyone who reads this and follows me. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

STILL SUCKS TO BE ME by Kimberly Pauley - REVIEW

Mirrorstone – May 10, 2010
Life as a vampire isn’t working out so great for Mina.  The Vampire Relocation Agency is forcing her and her parents to move to a podunk town in Louisiana.  Adding to the anxiety of moving, the family can’t take anything with them.  No clothes, photos, or keepsakes from their old lives are allowed.  The VRA can’t take a chance on someone recognizing them since the Hamilton’s have been pronounced dead.  They can’t even have access to their money until some time has passed.  Mina is miserable, but not having her best friend Serena to talk to is like pouring salt in the wound.
Even though Mina has been through some major life changes, her parents still insist she start school right away.  Being a Senior, Mina expects to be left out of everything since cliques and friendships have already been established, but in Cartville, LA, Mina is the coolest thing since sliced bread.  Mina immediately finds a nosy, talkative wanna-be friend, a boy that desperately wants to go out with her, and a girl who hates her guts simply because she exists.  Oh! There is a handsome, mysterious guy named Cameron, too.  This is definitely not a good time for Mina’s boyfriend, George, to run off to Brazil to bond with his parents.
Mina takes it all in stride – even takes some vampire continuing education classes with her mom and learns to do a little shape-shifting. Cameron also starts to teach her how to use mind control.  Mina is becoming a better vampire everyday.
Then, Serena shows up on her doorstep and crazy, Goth-Girl Raven arrives in town.  Even talk of the human-hating Black Talon group is rumored to be in Cartville.  Mina discovers that even though she decided to become a vampire – her life still sucks!
STILL SUCKS TO BE ME is a cute story. If  you liked the first book in the series you definitely need to pick up a copy.  There were only three things that knocked it down to 4 glasses.
1. The journal entries started to get a little redundant.
2. I would have liked more drama between Cameron and Mina.
3. The excitement needed to start sooner.  Mina’s crumbling, while warranted, took up too much of the beginning.
You’ll enjoy STILL SUCKS TO BE ME much more if you read SUCKS TO BE ME first.
This is a great vampire novel for the younger crowd. Mina and the boys in her life are well-behaved teenagers.  Mina even maintains a great relationship with her parents!  The Hamiltons oops, Smiths are a great vampire family.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Walker Books for Young Readers – February 2, 2010

Lucy lives in conditions many people can’t even imagine.  The kitchen is unusable, there isn’t any hot water in the house, and the furnace is broken.  There are piles and piles of papers, plastic bags, and boxes littering every corner of the house.  In order to maneuver, Lucy and her mother have to navigate through a maze of cleared paths just wide enough for a person.

Lucy feels her life is made up of lies and secrets. She lies to her friends about why they can’t come over.  She avoids any topic of conversation that will bring attention to her or her family.  Lucy is scared to death when she hears a knock at the door – knowing she could never allow someone to come inside to see what her house looks like.  This is the reason her mother can’t call a repairman to fix the heater.

After another one of their usual fights where her mother accuses Lucy of moving something, Lucy packs an overnight bag and leaves to go to the movies and spend the night with her best and only friend.  She doesn’t know it yet, but life is about to get a lot more complicated for her.  When Lucy comes home the next morning, she discovers something horrible.  Will she be able to deal with the tragedy and keep her secrets in tact?

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS is a book that will suck you into the story.  Your heart will hurt for Lucy as she reveals memories from her past with the reader.  This book will certainly cause you to take a look at the clutter around your house and ask, “Do I really need those old magazines?”

I couldn’t give DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS 5 glasses simply because of the implausibility of the way Lucy handled the situation – it seemed more like denial than a plan.  However, this didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story.

Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the book.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Feiwel & Friends – May 25, 2010

As the curtain rises on Act 2 of the Thèâtre Illuminata, we find Bertie at the beginning of her quest to rescue Nate from the clutches of the evil Sea Goddess from The Little Mermaid.  As the new Mistress of Revels, it is her job to put pen to paper and create the story of the journey.  With Ariel, the air spirit from The Tempest, and the delightfully mischievous fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bertie attempts to navigate her way through the world outside the Theater.

Complications and obstacles appear at every turn and Bertie’s emotions aren’t making matters any easier. Her feelings for Ariel have evolved into something harder to define, but her loyalties to Nate leave her feeling guilty about her closeness with Ariel.  In order to save Nate, she’ll have to explore her true feelings and decide which man she loves the most.

PERCHANCE TO DREAM is very different from EYES LIKE STARS.  Lisa Mantchev introduces many new characters and a completely new setting.  The reader gets to experience what life is like outside the theater.  Readers will be relieved to know the fairies provide the same comic relief as they did in the first book.  Lisa Mantchev leaves readers ready for the third installment in the series.

If you were a fan of EYES LIKE STARS, you’ll definitely want to read this wildly, creative book.  It isn’t completely necessary for a person to read the first book to enjoy PERCHANCE TO DREAM, but… it would probably be best.

Book rec’d as part of Traveling ARC Tours.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Read-a-Likes - SECRETS

Young Adult books are filled with turmoil and angst.  Secrets are a big part of teenage life.  I’ve read some great books that share a theme – the characters all have something to hide.  In some instances, the secret is something they wish they could scream from the top of the rooftops, but in others they just want everything to go away so they can lead a normal life.

THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard

WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson


LUNA by Julie Anne Peters

DULL BOY by Sarah Cross

CANDOR by Pam Bachorz

KEEPING YOU A SECRET by Julie Anne Peters

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

WAKE by Lisa McMann

AFTER by Amy Efaw

TEACH ME by R.A. Nelson

What else should I add?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

GEMX by Nicky Singer - REVIEW

Holiday House – April 15, 2008

Maxo Strang is one of the most perfect people in the Polis, an exclusive district where only genetically enhanced people can live. He is the GenOff (offspring) of the most important scientist in the Polis. Igo Strang, Maxo’s father, is the lead scientist for the Polis. It is his job to continually improve the enhancements. He is always striving for perfections. With the model, GemX, he thinks he is as close to perfect as he can get. Maxo is a GemX.

Maxo enjoys a luxurious life in the Polis. He never gives much thought to the Dreggies that live outside the check points – until he sees Gala on the video screen. Maxo’s life is turned upside down when a flaw in the GemX model is discovered. It seems “cracks,” a.k.a. wrinkles, are appearing on many of their faces and it is up to Igo Strang to figure out what is causing the unexpected early aging in thousands of the most promising young people of the Polis. The problem is, the leaders don’t want to give him the time it will take. Their solution is much more drastic.

Maxo is thrown into an unknown world when he attempts to save himself and others from the secrecy and lies of the Polis.

GEMX didn’t live up to it’s description. The speed at which Maxo and Gala become obsessed with each other is unbelievable and the story didn’t move fast enough. I felt like I was forcing myself to get through it.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Daisy is being shipped to England to live with an aunt and four cousins she’s never met because her “wicked” step-mother convinced Daisy’s father it was the best thing for her. While she isn’t thrilled with the new arrangement, as soon as she arrives, Daisy feels an overwhelming since of belonging and connection. She feels more at home with these strangers than she ever has in New York City with her father.

Before Daisy has a chance to settle in, her aunt leaves for a conference out of town, leaving her and her four cousins alone. Shortly after, England is invaded by an unnamed force. Bombings and skirmishes scatter the countryside while Daisy and the cousins live in relative safety on their isolated farm – until the military locates their house and decides to commandeer it for their planning headquarters. The cousins are separated – girls to one location and the boys to another.

Daisy makes it her mission to get the family back together. The reader travels the dangerous roads through the England landscape with Daisy as she witnesses death and destruction. Your heart will go out to her and you’ll be emotionally invested with the family by the time you get to the end of the book. HOW I LIVE NOW is great choice if you are a fan of dystopian novels. Amidst the war, a beautiful, but unconventional love story unfolds. HOW I LIVE NOW will easily turn into a single-sitting read. Once you start you won’t want to stop.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Deanna Lambert made a mistake. She got involved with her brother’s best friend when she was 13-years-old. Tommy never took her on a date, never took her to get something to eat, never went anywhere with her in public. He would just pick her up after school or come over to her house when he knew Deanna’s brother wasn’t home so they could go park and fool around.

People found out about the relationship in the worst way possible. Deanna’s father caught her with Tommy in the back of his car. The next day, everyone knew what happened. Mostly because Tommy told everyone. Since that terrible night, Deanna’s father hasn’t really looked at her or talked to her and home doesn’t comfort her at all.

Sadly, school isn’t safe for her either. Daily, she hears taunts like slut and skank, suffers unwanted advances from guys, and endures dirty looks from the girls. Her only bright spot is her best friend, Jason.

THE STORY OF A GIRL isn’t a pick me up. I felt sorry for Deanna through the entire book – even in the end. Deanna definitely grew as a character from beginning to end and there is even a small glimmer of hope by the final page. It is a valuable addition to young adult literature in the sense that it shows a girl making it through an extremely tough time. Deanna doesn’t give up – even when she keeps making mistakes.

I would have liked to see the story extended a bit. I wasn’t satisfied with where Deanna’s story left off. Also, I listened to THE STORY OF A GIRL on audio book and the author, Sara Zarr, was the reader. It might have been a little better if a professional reader would have read it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Read-a-Likes - ROMANCE

In honor of Valentine's Day the theme of this Read-a-Like is Romance. The following books include a deep, loving relationships between the main characters.



SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater

LAMENT and BALLAD by Maggie Stiefvater

WINGS by Aprilynne Pike

HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick

FALLEN by Lauren Kate

SEA CHANGE by Aimee Friedman


GRACELING and FIRE by Kristin Cashore


ETERNAL by Cynthia Leitich Smith

OLD MAGIC by Marianne Curley

As you can see, all of the books on my list are romance mixed with fantasy. So, does anyone out there have any suggestions for contemporary fiction romance books? If so, please leave a comment.


Delacorte Books for Young People – January 26, 2010

Ali/Alley/Gonk (short for Algonquin) is the touch music critic of the high school newspaper. There isn’t anything she loves more than a good song and there aren’t many people out there her age that appreciate the quality of singers like Cole Porter as she does.

Alley’s latest assignment takes her to one of Cornersville’s local music scenes. A band is set to play a gig that includes a band member from school – oh, he’s also a vampire. Yep, in this world people are aware of the existence of vampires and zombies – and the popular crowd wants to either become one themselves or at the very least date one. Alley doesn’t see the attraction. She is one of the few that has no interest in the supernatural side life.

Alley doesn’t intend to get stuck in her small town for the rest of her life so dating isn’t that important to her. She doesn’t want to get too attached to a guy that will keep her in town. She’s all for having fun and making out, but…that’s about it. Her attitude toward guys changes drastically when she sees Doug sing a few songs during the gig she’s reviewing for the newspaper.

Doug catches Alley’s attention when he sings a Cole Porter song. His interpretation of the classic is unique and sexy. It doesn’t take long for Alley to fall head-over-heels in love with Doug. It doesn’t matter to her that he wears the same suit every time she sees him, can’t talk for very much at a time, or has a strange smell about him (Doug tells her he has a sickness). The way he makes her feel makes up for his strangeness.

When Alley finally puts the pieces together she is forced to make some BIG decisions. Is her love strong enough to overcome the obstacles of their love?

I KISSED A ZOMBIE, AND I LIKED IT is okay. The world Adam Selzer created for the novel is fun and interesting, but Alley is an unlikable character. If you can get over that, then you’ll be okay. In terms of quirky, light, romancy zombie books, here is where it would fall:

NEVER SLOW DANCE WITH A ZOMBIE by E. Van Lowe is worse at 1 glasses.

YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME by Stacey Jay is better at 4 glasses.

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