Thursday, April 25, 2013

BOOKANISTAS: This Is What Happy Looks Like

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 

I was a huge fan of THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, but I had one tiny little problem with was too short! I wanted more, more, more! So I was very excited when I got my copy of this book in the mail and saw how long it was. I knew I would get drawn in to the love story between Ellie and Graham, and I was so glad I got to linger there for a long time. 

The title of this book really does tell you everything you need to know. This book just makes you HAPPY. It's a very sweet romance that develops over the course of email communication. There's the added issue of Graham being famous and Ellie needing desperately to stay out of the public eye, and, just like in THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, there's also some great family dynamic/issues going on, too. There's a lot going on in this story, and it really kept me tearing through the pages. I had such a warm and fuzzy feeling the entire time I was reading it, I never wanted to put it down. 

Fans of contemporary romance with a little depth, you're going to love this one. 

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...

Katy Upperman  ponders LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by Laura Buzo
Kimberly Sabatini wonders at WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney
Elana Johson  falls for THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
Tracy Banghart  loves LACRIMOSA by Christine Fonseca
Corrine Jackson adores the ARCADIA BELL series by Jenn Bennett
Rebecca Behrens delves into CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
Lenore Appelhans raves about THE RULES by Stacey Kade
Stasia Ward Kehoe wraps up National Poetry Month with THE POETRY TEACHER’S BOOK OF LISTS by Sylvia Vardell
Christine Fonseca  celebrates UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
Shannon Messenger  discusses some recent reads

Thursday, April 18, 2013

BOOKANISTAS: Welcome to our new Bookanistas!

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes here at the Bookanistas. We have some great plans for bringing more nothing-but-love reviews and fun book stuff to the blogosphere, and one of the first things we're excited about is some new members!

Join me in welcoming our awesome new Bookanistas! *confetti cannon*

I have no idea why I chose this picture. I just looked up Happy Dog and I liked the look of this guy.

Tracey Neithercott is a journalist who writes mostly about health but sometimes about famous people. She also writes YA sci-fi novels and reads when she should be socializing. Or so her mother says. As a teen, she spent a full year aspiring to be a CIA agent, mainly to dress up like Sydney Bristow on Alias. Find her onTwitter

Rebecca Behrens is a writer and kid-lit production editor who lives in New York City. Books are her favorite things, but she also loves: Wisconsin, bright shoes, running, and doughnuts. Her upper-MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE, is coming in February 2014 from Sourcebooks. Follow her on Twitter

Thanks to her father's job in the US military,Lenore Appelhans became addicted to travel early. To date, she's visited nearly 60 countries and has stepped on every contintent except Antartica. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and three fancy Birman cats. Her novel, The Memory of After (published in hardcover asLevel 2), is "immensely layered" (VOYA) and "a griping debut" (NYT Bestselling Author Megan McCafferty). The second book in The Memory Chronicles, Chasing Before, is due summer 2014. She has been blogging about books at Presenting Lenore since 2008.

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three and four year olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel. (Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster) 

 Shari Arnold writes stories and takes photographs. She likes loud music, dessert before dinner and mild weather, preferably all at the same time. She lives on the Connecticut shoreline with her husband and their two young children. Find her online at or follow her on Twitter
We're so excited to welcome our new Bookanistas, and we can't wait to add their book posts into our weekly party!

If you don't already do it, make sure you add the Bookanistas Blog to your feed reader, and be sure to like us on facebook for all the up-to-the-minute awesome book news!

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...

Carrie Harris croons about THE COLLECTOR by Victoria Scott

Corrine Jackson adores CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL by Louise Rozett

Shelli Johannes-Wells hails HYSTERIA by Megan Miranda

Stasia Ward Kehoe celebrates YALSA’s TEEN LIT DAY

Nikki Katz raves about ROOTLESS by Chris Howard

Gretchen McNeil adores UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody

Rebecca Behrens and Tracey Neithercott share why they’re excited to be newbie Bookanistas 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Get Ready To Rock The Drop

This Thursday is Teen Lit Day, which means it is time to Rock The Drop!

If you aren't familiar with Operation Teen Book Drop, go check out Readergirlz for all the information. Basically, we are promoting teen literacy by dropping our favorite YA books out in the wild for teens to find, keep, and read! This will be my fourth year participating in the Rock The Drop can check out these posts for my experiences from the past two years:

Rock The Drop 2011
Rock The Drop 2012

(My 2010 post is on my defunct book blog...but I promise I participated!)

Thursday is going to be a pretty crazy day for me, but I'm still planning to Rock The Drop as much as I can. I have a few books at home, and I'm hoping to stop by the used bookstore to see if I can pick up some more. The more books, the merrier...right?

Are you planning on participating in Operation Teen Book Drop on Thursday? If you do participate, be sure to print out the Readergirlz book plate for your book, then tweet and/or instagram your pictures/experience with #RockTheDrop...and be sure to blog about it afterwards! We all love sharing the Teen Lit Love!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.

     Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary’s disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax.

So, it's not like this is some tiny little book that needs a signal boost from me or anything. I mean, it won the Morris AND the Printz for goodness sake. But it's one that I put off reading for a long time for some reason, and once I finally got around to it, I was surprised at what I found. (The reason I finally broke down and pulled it off my shelf? I realized I'd ONLY read books by female authors this year so far. Figured I needed to mix it up a bit.)

My first reaction to this book was that it read very much like adult literary fiction. This isn't a good thing or a bad thing, it's just very different from the style I'm used to in YA today, so it was an interesting change. It has two alternating stories - one, told in the first person POV of Cullen Witter, a teen boy in a small town in Arkansas, who often talks about himself in the third person, and the other, told in third person, about Benton Sage, a young missionary who isn't really having the life-changing experience he had been hoping for. I don't want to talk too much about either one of these stories because it really was cool watching them unfold. (Strangely enough, I was drawn into Benton Sage's story right away, and it was Cullen's story that it took me longer to connect with. I say this is strange because Cullen's is the "main" story of the book, and he's the first person narrator of his part of the story. But he's not always the easiest to connect with.)

With the very literary style, I was worried that this book might go the route of my typical adult literary reading experience, which is spend a lot of time going off about how beautiful its own writing is without really making any progress with the story and leaving me all annoyed and frustrated. But I'm happy to report that this book didn't go that way at all. Gorgeous writing and satisfying story. As usual, adult literary fiction can take a lesson or two from YA.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today:

Corrine Jackson is swept away by SUCH A RUSH

Christine Fonseca interviews THE LIES THAT BIND authors Lisa & Laura Roecker

Elana Johson celebrates THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass

Stasia Ward Kehoe parties with the Academy of American Poets on POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY

Tracy Banghart delves into THE HOST (book & movie) by Stephenie Meyer

Katy Upperman discusses Erica Lorraine Scheidt’s USES FOR BOYS

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


It seems like just yesterday that I was congratulating my amazing friend Kelsey on landing herself an agent. And here I am again with more congratulations for Kels...this time on announcing her book deal!


I'll let her tell you all the fun details (because HOO BOY, there are some FUN details), so just head on over to her blog and check it out, won't you?
AND she's gorgeous!
It's crazy to me and Kels and I are both navigating this world of YA publishing together. We met before either one of us had started writing - just two teachers on our online book club board who gravitated toward each other with some of the same interests. (My online book club board is home of so many of my writer friends and reader friends and IRL friends.) But then I started writing and she started writing and I now have someone else to cling to and cheerlead for on this crazy journey.

And let me tell you about Kelsey, those of you who don't know her. Kelsey is that girl who is so mad talented at everything. Everything. And she makes it look easy. You kinda, sorta want to hate her a little bit. But then you talk to her and she is so sweet and fun and genuine, you know that you couldn't hate her if you tried. You just enjoy her amazing friendship and hope that some of her awesome rubs off on you.

Kels is one of my very special friends, and I could not be more thrilled for her. I'm so happy to have her in my corner on this journey through the world of publishing. (Mixed metaphor, but you know what I mean.) Make sure you give Kelsey some love today, either on her blog or on Twitter (she's @KelsNotChels)

Congratulations, Kels...I can't wait to see what else is in store for you. xoxo

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bookanistas Links and YAConfidential News!

No review here from me today, but check out what some of the other Bookanistas are raving about on this fantastic Thursday:

Tracy Banghart  is tantalized by TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson

Katy Upperman  adores IMPOSSIBLE by Nancy Werlin

Corrine Jackson is wowed by WAIT FOR YOU

Stasia Ward Kehoe delves into THE RITHMATIST by Brandon Sanderson

Also, if you missed the big news over at YAConfidential, we've added a few awesome new operatives, teen operatives, and teen spies to the mix, and to celebrate we're having a big giveaway of books, critiques, and more! I'm giving away a query critique, but there is lots more on the table. Go check it out if you haven't yet, and say hi to our new contributors while you're over there!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Break Fun - Free Cold War Kids Show

Yesterday was the first day of my GLORIOUS TWO-WEEK SPRING BREAK. Yes, I know I am extremely lucky to get two weeks off (even though one of those weeks is thanks to furlough days, so it's not as awesome as it seems), and I try to take advantage of ever free second. (And by "take advantage" I mean sleep as much as possible.)

My wbff Erin and I decided to have some fun on our first day off and do one of those things we always wish we could do if we didn't have a pesky job during the day. We drove out to LA to see our favorite band Cold War Kids play a free show at Amoeba Records in Hollywood.

We weren't really sure what to expect from this show, but after battling traffic (leaving at 3pm didn't matter, it still took us an hour and a half to go about 40 miles), we got to the store about an hour and a half before the show and found the line to be not all that bad. A friendly Amoeba employee came around and told us that they had copies of their new album for sale in the store (a day early!) and if we wanted to, we could get them signed by the band after the show. So, we both ran in and grabbed a copy. (While I was buying mine, the guy buying stuff next to me looked so much like Daniel Vincent Gordh, aka Darcy from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and I was staring so hard at him like the creeper I am, that I walked away leaving my brand new Ray Bans just sitting on the counter. Thank goodness it was sunny enough outside that I noticed their absence right away. My god, Jess...get it together.)

The whole process of seeing a show at Ameoba was so well organized and painless (SO unlike the secret Incubus show I went to at the Echoplex. Have I ever shared that tale of woe? I will tell you that it involves me, Mild Mannered, People Pleasing Jess getting in an actual bar fight where a girl PULLED OUT MY WEAVE. Yes, this was real life.) that we just filed right in, chatted happily amidst the rows of CDs, and then the band was playing.

What Erin and I love about Cold War Kids is that every show we've been to has been so different. They frequently change up their set lists, they don't always play their more popular songs, and they are always, always unbelievably awesome live. Lead singer Nathan Willett's voice just blows me away every time...I would love him even if he wasn't a former teacher. But that makes me love him even more. Especially when he pulls out his classroom management skills on unruly concert-goers like he did when Erin and I saw them a few months ago.

After they were done playing (to a crowd of very respectful fans...seriously, I was so impressed by this whole experience), we hopped in line to say hi to the band and get our insert poster signed. I haven't bought an actual CD in a long time, but I'm glad to have this one because it has a lot of cool artwork included.

Then the best part about this whole experience? I was back home and on my couch by 8pm like the old lady I am. It was awesome.