Cover Art Curiosity

I am a nosy little bugger who loves getting the “inside scoop”.  That’s why I loved YA author Melissa Walker’s series this week, Cover Stories.  Every day she interviewed a different author about the story behind their book’s cover.  Every story is different and each one is fascinating.  I had no idea that some cover models are used on more than one book!  Or that the models themselves don’t always know when their likeness has been used.

Melissa Walker interviews Sarah Dessen about the cover for Along for the Ride, Siobhan Vivian about Same Difference, Beth Kephart about Nothing but Ghosts, Jenny Han about the cover of The Summer I Turned Pretty, and Sara Zarr about Story of a Girl and Sweethearts. So cool! Plus, you can enter a contest each day to win a copy of the author’s book. And don’t forget to check out Melissa Walker’s newest book, Lovestruck Summer.

What I am Reading This Week

Envy: A Luxe Novel by Ann Godbersen- My favorite guilty pleasure books! This is my relaxing and fun read for the week,

Spaces & Places: Designing Classrooms for Literacy by Debbie Diller- I will be moving classrooms next year (and moving from a 2 hr block of Language Arts to 1 hr) so I am starting to think about how I want to arrange my space.

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman- An interesting new concept for reluctant readers and mystery-lovers, this middle grade mystery combines online videos with a creepy mystery. I am intrigued!

What are you reading this week?

Books I am Looking Forward to Reading in 2009

I’ve been so caught up in the awards bonanza of late that I realized we are almost out of January and I haven’t posted the books I am looking forward to reading this year.  This is by no means a complete list, but just a few that caught my eye from publisher’s previews, blog reading, and reviews!

  • A Butterfly Fable (Adios Oscar!) by Peter Elwell- A monarch butterfly book? Count me in!
  • Being Nikki (Airhead) by Meg Cabot- I loved AIRHEAD so I am really looking forward to this sequel!
  • Yes, I Know the Monkey Man by Dori Hillestad Butler- I saw this at a publisher’s preview and it sounded like a great mystery. A daughter who believes her mother and twin sister are dead when they really are not? Sounds awesome!
  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci- As a self-professed and proud geek, I can not wait to get my hands on this collection of geeky stories from some of the greatest in YA writing!
  • The Enemy by Davide Cali- The sample F&G I saw of this book was so powerful that I wanted to take it home and share it with my class immediately. This fable is about two lonely soldiers facing each other across a barren battlefield. What each discovers, as the story unfolds, is that the enemy is not a faceless beast, but rather a real person with family, friends, and dreams.
  • The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts- This is the Delacorte Press MG Fiction contest winner. It’s the story of a small town girl raising steers for the county fair. When she becomes attached to them, despite their eventual fate of being sold to the slaughterhouse, problems arise.
  • The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee- This Australian import was compared to THE LOVELY BONES and VIRGIN SUICIDES.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan- We all know how much I love my apocalyptic survival stories.
  • Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner- Another apocalyptic tale. This one blurbed by Jane Yolen!
  • My Life in Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald- A Class of 2k9 debut that really caught my eye.
  • A Mirror to Nature: Poems About Reflection by Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple- Yolen’s poetry is some of my favorite writing. I can’t wait to read this!
  • Emma Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis- Emma-Jean was my favorite character from 2007. I had no idea Tarshis was writing a follow-up until I saw a preview in the publisher’s catalog! I can’t wait to get my hands on this!
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson- You could tell me that Anderson was rewriting the phone book and I would read it. Can’t wait to read her latest YA!
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins- Not due out until September, I am dying to scoop up an ARC at BEA this spring. I have been waiting to find out what happened to Katniss since the end of The Hunger Games!
  • Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill- Ever since traveling to Mexico I have been fascinated by the Dia de los Muertos.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Book 5: The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) by Rick Riordan- I love Percy and am excited to see the conclusion of this hysterical series.
  • Shades of Grey: A Novel by Jasper Fforde- I don’t remember who first mentioned this on their blog, but it immediately went on my Amazon wishlist. The summary reminds me a bit of THE GIVER, so I am looking forward to reading it.
  • Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems by Georgia Heard- My inspiration when it comes to poetry, Georgia Heard really connects with kids.

 

This is just a sampling of some of the books I want to read this year, and mostly for the next season. What are you looking forward to reading in 2009?

Cool New Blog

Today I stumbled on a cool new blog and wanted to pass it on.  Ink Splot 26 is put together by sixteen Scholastic staffers and is full of daily information on new books, new movies (based on books!), and interviews with celebrities and authors.  According to their info:

nk Splot 26 is your daily blog for info on the hottest titles, authors, and industry events around. Get the latest on books before they hit the big screen, and hear from celebs about their favorite reads! Soak up exclusives, gasp at spoilers, test your trivia, stream some video, and surf our Top Five Listings. And if you’ve got an opinion — we wanna hear it!

I’ve added them to my Google reader and love the information they post!  Keep an eye on them.  :)

Love the 39 Clues? Read Chapter 1 of Book 2!

If you love The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1) as much as my students and I do, then you will be thrilled to hear that Scholastic has released Chapter 1 of 39 Clues: One False Note online! Though the book is not available until December 2, you can read the excerpt here.

 

What are you waiting for?  Go read!

James Preller Quotes Me!

How exciting!  I just found out that James Preller quotes me on his blog!  A few days ago I reviewed his book, Six Innings, which I read for the Cybils.  Because it is a baseball-centric book, I probably would not have read it otherwise.  Thank goodness for the Cybils, because I really enjoyed Preller’s writing and look forward to picking up more of his books.

I also look forward to sharing Six Innings with my students. I already have a slew of them in mind who will just eat this book up.

Thanks again, James Preller!

My Father’s Son by Terri Fields

What would you do if you sat down, turned on the evening news, and saw that the worst serial killer in state history had finally been arrested? Probably say, “Good riddance”, right?

What if the man they paraded in front of the news cameras was your father?

What if your father isn’t who you think he is?

What if he is a murderer, a serial killer, and now the most reviled man in the state? In the country? What if you no longer know the man you love more than anything in the world? What do you do?

That is what happens to Kevin, a high schooler who spends every other weekend at his dad’s house and the rest of the time with his mom. He and his dad get along great; playing new computer games together and ordering takeout. His dad bought him his car and lets him go and go a lot more freely than his mom does. It’s the perfect father-son relationship. Until the day Kevin’s father is arrested and accused of being the DB25 killer. My Father’s Son follows Kevin as his life spins out of control following his father’s arrest and the subsequent investigation.

Kevin knows his father didn’t do it. How could he have tortured and killed all those women? But when his father admits his guilt, Kevin’s life is completely turned upside down. Suddenly his fellow students are scared of him. People on the street run in the other direction. His best friends and the girl he has a crush on won’t even be in a room alone with him. The resemblance to his father that was always a point of pride with Kevin is now what turns everyone against him. After all, he is his father’s son, isn’t he?

This was a gripping story that I could not put down. Terri Fields approaches a topic that has always fascinated me- what is it like to be the family of an alleged serial killer, or murderer, or other criminal? What would you do if someone you loved was suddenly the villain marched across TV screen all over the world? Kevin’s entire life changes while he struggles to defend his father and you are right there with him.

My Father’s Son is full of suspense and Terri Fields forces you to imagine life if everything you loved and counted on was ripped away from you. Family, friends, school, and normal routines. The suspense will keep you turning the pages late into the night, racing to the conclusion. It kept me up until 3am because I just could.not.put.it.down. And the story will stay with you long after you finish the book.

New Sarah Desson Novel!

Congratulations to Sarah Desson, who just sold a new novel! I loved her last novel, Lock and Key, and I can’t wait to read the new one.

Penguin Young Readers Group, longtime publisher of bestselling YA author Sarah Dessen, has acquired Dessen’s latest novel, Along for the Ride. Regina Hayes, president and publisher of Viking Children’s Books, did the deal with Leigh Feldman of Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman Literary Agents; Hayes will edit the novel as well. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In Along for the Ride, which is scheduled to pub in June 2009, an 18-year-old high school graduate befriends a fellow insomniac, and together they explore their small town by night.

Dessen is the author of eight novels, most recently Lock and Key (April 2008). Her books have sold more than 1.5 million copies.

courtesy of Publisher’s Weekly.

I know there are a lot of Sarah Dessen fans out there who will be excited to hear this news.  If you don’t already know, be sure to check out her awesome blog!

The Debs by Susan McBride

A few weeks ago I received an ARC from Delacorte Books. Included with the ARC was a lipstick case from my favorite designer ever, Lilly Pulitzer! Now that might be a silly reason to move up the book on my TBR pile but it happened.

The Debs is the first in a new series chronicling the debutante season for four girls in Houston, Texas. The four girls are eagerly awaiting their invitations from The Glass Slipper Club- the elitist ‘club’ that chooses each year’s debs. The book alternated viewpoints between all four girls, three of whom are best friends and a fourth that is their archenemy. It’s typical high school drama multiplied by millions of dollars.

Laura Bell is a size 14 and feels the pressures of not being skinny enough. Yet she still attracts some of the hottest guys around. Mac is struggling with her mother’s death and her father’s recent marriage to a woman young enough to be her sister. While being a Deb isn’t her dream, it was her mother’s. Ginger is the tree-hugging liberal struggling to find herself. All three girls are best friends and can’t wait to go through the deb season together.

Then there is popular Jo-Lynn, whose sole goal is to ensure that Laura Bell does not debut.

The Debs introduced me to high society and debuts in the south, a custom I am not very familiar with. It was fun to be transported to this world where girls wait for invitations with bated breath, try on their grandmother’s debut dresses, and pray for the chance to debut like their mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmother’s did. It’s a fun story and I look forward to reading the remaining books. The story moved quickly and I think teens will get a kick out of it. It’s definitely different than life here in the northeast and I think teens in the south and outside the south will enjoy the story.

The second book “Love, Lies and Texas Dips” comes out in June 2009. I recommend this series for high school readers, due to some mature situations.

Percy Jackson News!

How did I miss this?  (Thanks, Jen!)  The title for the fifth Percy Jackson book has been revealed!

 

Percy Jackson and THE LAST OLYMPIAN will be published on May 9, 2009.  I am so excited!  There is no cover yet, but more information will be released over the coming weeks.  Percy was a huge favorite in my room last year,so I know there will be a lot of fans excited to hear this news.  Thanks, Rick!

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