Welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy your stay :]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Title Love

After the cover, the thing that most draws me to a book is the title. Here are some of my favorites:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
I think the title and cover work so well together on this one. The title is so evocative, and it's such a perfect fit for the novel.

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
It's beautiful and sounds slightly dangerous, and it's my favorite Shannon Hale title.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
I don't know if I can coherently describe why this one affects me the way it does. I love how final it sounds, but determined.

No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
I love how funny this title is. I cried and cried at the end of Old Yeller and A Dog Called Kitty, so I really appreciated this book. Why do all the dogs have to die?

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher
The one is more about how well the cover and title work together. (The hardcover, not the paperback. I don't like the new cover design they gave it.) From the title we know that she's a taxi dancer, and I love the expression on the girl's face. What is she thinking about?

Now, for comparison, I offer you one of my worst titles from the past. At the time I was convinced I was a genius, but now . . . .

H.A.M.S. - Have A Mother Society Orphanage
I was in seventh grade. I was eating left over Easter ham, and through an IM conversation I convinced a friend that there was an orphanage on Warm Springs Avenue called HAMS, and that they had a job opening in the laundry department that her sister could apply for. She completely bought it. That is, until she called me to get more information about the job and I couldn't stop laughing. This was partially inspired by a true story: there really was an orphanage on that street in Boise, once upon a time. Now there are only rich people living in their fancy houses. We used to drive down that street and pick out our favorites, imagining ourselves living there.

The story wasn't much better then the name. Also, I printed the whole thing out in pink ink. No one would read it the entire way through because the color was slightly nauseating. (Or that's what they told me, anyway.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hello Lovelies, and Happy Tuesday

How do you spell "lovelies"? It looks all wrong, but that's what I get when I sound it out. Love-lies. Lovelies. Plus, my spell-checker isn't highlighting it. Why doesn't it look right?

Hello my lovelies! (It still doesn't look right.) Lovelys. (Nah.) Loves. (It sounds like doves! Loves, doves, loves and doves.) (Did you know that there are no white doves? Yeah, I'm serious. When you see white "doves" they're actually pigeons.) (Look! You came here and you actually learned something!)

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 23, 2012


First, can I just squeal a little bit about how awesome The Hunger Games movie was?

It's so odd to be into the next THING. I mean, I never got into Harry Potter or Twilight the way my friends did. I never loved either of those series, although I did read all of the Harry Potter books. They didn't have the BAM WOW KAZING connection with me that other books did.

The Hunger Games is a different story. I read it, and it was BAM WOW KAZING. I loved Katniss. I cried. I screamed. I stayed up until 3 a.m. I was left gasping at the end, feeling like I wanted to throw the book across the room and scream, and at the same time go right back to the first page and read it again.

At first I was dead set against The Hunger Games becoming a movie. What if they ruined it, like the Ella Enchanted movie? I loved the books, but I didn't want them to become the next THING, like Twilight, where you read it and love it because that's what popular.

Once I saw the trailer, and found out the Suzanne Collins was collaborating with the screenplay, I began to get excited. Maybe they wouldn't ruin it. Louis Sachar wrote the Holes screenplay, and just look how awesome that movie is. Right?

And The Hunger Games movie was awesome. It followed the book so well, and I loved that we were able to see other things, because we weren't limited to just Katniss' experience. Although there were things about it I missed, I did think it was a wonderful adaption and a great companion to the book.

But here's the thing - when I'm reading a book, it's such a private experience. (Unless, of course, I'm reading out loud.) Especially when it's written in 1st person. I become the main character, I experience the world with her, and it becomes a part of me. It's an odd feeling that so many other people have that same world as a part of themselves - but at the same time, it's amazing. I loved overhearing the conversation in the theatre before the movie, and after the movie was over. I loved the chuckles and squeals as certain characters came on, or when THAT LINE was said. And even though sometimes I feel snooty because I read them before they were THE THING, I'm also so glad they became the next thing. Because I feel like they deserve it. They're definitely not perfect books (what books are?), and maybe sometimes I get exasperated with the number of dystopians following along in the wake of The Hunger Games' success. But that there is this enormous community of people who have all fallen in love with the same book is amazing. Watching The Hunger Games spread across the internet was so cool, and giving the book to friends or lending my copy and watching them fall in love as well is so amazing.

Good books need to be shared. So I'm okay with being apart of today's big THING.

Happy Hunger Games, people.

P.S. Aren't capitalized words SO FUN?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Worth Remembering

I'm just popping in to direct you to this lovely bit of advice: here. Because I'm too lazy to steal the graphic or say anything meaningful, but I still thought it was worth sharing.

Have a lovely week. :] I swear I'll write a real blog post soon!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Absence of Religion in YA

One of the most important aspects of any books is creating real characters the reader can relate to. In young adult (YA) books, authors will include things like drugs, alcohol, cussing, and premarital sex in their books, because they assume these things are present in the lives of teenagers. To some extent they are - I won't venture a guess at any percentage, but I do know that my high school had a lot of people into all that. However, I would also venture to guess that the majority of avid readers are not into all of this.

So, yes, to some extent, adding these things to your character's life will make them seem like a real teen. But it's here that we start getting into some treacherous territory: do authors really think that this is all teens do and think about? I sincerely hope not. Because many real teens are involved in other things - like religion.

"While America is becoming a more diverse nation, at least 80 percent of teens still identify as Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Mormon or Jewish, with most teens adhering to their parents’ faith tradition, the report said." Source

80%. 80%!!!!!!!!!! Can we all just look at that statistic again? 80% of American teens are religious.

"The research found that devout teens hold more traditional sexual and other values than their nonreligious counterparts and are better off in emotional health, academic success, community involvement, concern for others, trust of adults and avoidance of risky behavior." Source

"Substantial majorities said they:
  • Were affiliated with a local congregation (82 percent).
  • Had few or no doubts about their beliefs in the past year (80 percent).
  • Felt “extremely,” “very” or “somewhat” close to God (71 percent).
  • Prayed alone a few times a week or more often (65 percent).
  • “Definitely” believed in divine miracles from God (61 percent).
Fifty-two percent said they attended worship two to three times a month or more often." Source

82% are affiliated with a local congregation, and 52% attend worship regularly. These statistics are astounding when you compare the number of religious teens to the number of books that include religious teens. Do 80% of teen books have religious characters? Do 50%, even?

No. I couldn't find any numbers on this, but from my own personal reading experience, religious teens in the general YA book market are virtually nonexistent.* In fact, I can only think of a handful of books that I've read which include religion in some way, and almost every single one of them is written for the younger middle grade audience.

Can I just say, what the heck?

Authors include sex and swearing to make their teens more relatable. "The research found that devout teens hold more traditional sexual and other values than their nonreligious counterparts and are better off in emotional health, academic success, community involvement, concern for others, trust of adults and avoidance of risky behavior." 82% of American teens are religious. Why, then, do so many YA books think drugs and sex are going to make characters realistic?

For the most part, religion isn't even a part of YA character's lives. But if 82% of teens ARE religious, why is this not represented in the books we read?

I'm not saying we need more teen books that teach religious messages. What I am saying is that we need more books that reflect society - if you want to write a realistic character, stop ignoring religion. Not all teens drink. Not all teens have premarital sex. We need characters who reflect values that many teens believe.

Wee need religious teens in YA fiction.

*Excluding Christian Fiction for teens, which is not shelved in the regular Teen section.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

YouTube Tuesday

I felt like some Mulan this morning, and I thought I'd share.  Happy Tuesday!