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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Out This Week (November 9-15)

Publishing is slowing down a little for the year, but there are some great books coming out this week. Have a look!
11.11.14 Revolution by Jenna Black
11.11.14 The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
11.11.14 Slayers: Friends & Traitors by C.J. Hill
11.11.14 The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott
 11.11.14 Stone Cove Island by Suzanne Myers
11.13.14 Stranger by Sherwood Smith & Rachel Manija Brown
 11.11.14 In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak
11.11.14 Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne
 11.11.14 Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath
11.11.14 Ask Amy Green: Wedding Belles by Sarah Webb 

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

Title: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
Author: Adele Griffin
ISBN: 9781616953607
Publisher: Soho Teen
Released: August 12, 2014
Page #: 241
Source: My public library

"'From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone's subversive art made her someone to watch. And her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best - including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics - and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28.'
-Adele Griffin
'Some people wonder if they dare disturb the universe. Other people smash their universe to pieces just to see how it looks the next morning. For those of you who never knew her, take this book. Read her life. Be inspired to be more.'
-Lincoln Reed, Addison Stone's former boyfriend
'I don't believe in magic, but Addy lives right here in these pages - in the memories of all of us who knew her best.'
-Lucy Lim, childhood best friend"
First Lines:

"I met Addison Stone only once. She had enrolled as a freshman in my creative writing workshop at Pratt Institute. There were only six other students in my class, and as a visiting instructor, I was happy we'd be such a tight group."
Page 3

I don't think I can even begin to tell you how fascinated I was by this story.

This is the chronicle of the life of Addison Stone by her nearest and dearest. After her death, everyone has had a chance to really assess their relationship with her and what they think has happened. She was a fabulous portrait artist who was just making a name for herself in the NYC art community. It's a tragedy and these interviews show how her friends and family are dealing with it and all the rumor surrounding Addison's life.

I've never read anything like this before. A coworker told me there are several adult books written this way, but I'm still in awe about the format. I can see things being written in an interview format, but to really let it go on almost like it's a biography instead of fiction is fascinating. I legit had to do some research when I started this book - because I honestly thought I was reading about someone's real life. In that, I think it's a nod to how awesome this author is that it's pulled off perfectly.

Addison's life was certainly troubled, but full of energy and possibility. She's an artist who grew up in a small community until someone realized the potential of her talent. Even before she is discovered, she is literally and figuratively haunted by voices of the past. Unfortunately, she listened to those voices and really bad things came from it. I feel like this is something that is often a part of the artist community - people are a little more manic, a little more intense, and a little more on edge. And that really rings true in this story of Addison and her rise to the top.

There is a really intense focus on mental illness in this book. Addison ends up taking anti-psychotics and having a stint in an institution to help her through a rough patch. I appreciate that it's treated by her family and friends as just a fact of her life. Not something weird or troubling, just that she needs help and is able to get it. I think that's a great look at that sort of instance - and what part it may have played in her death. Her struggles with this is really what brings into question whether it was an accident or not.

Having this little window into the arts world of New York is sort of cool. I mean, you know about people like this, you've read about them in the tabloids. It's just an interesting look into the life of someone in that position and how those things changed her life - both for the better and worse. And to think about all of the tiny things a person owns during their life that might become valuable once they have died. Especially if there is some sort of story behind it... no matter how small. There's a little bit of that sort issue that happens in this story because of Addison's slimy handler.

I guess my only "complaint" about this book is the ending. You effectively know what's going to happen from page one. It's spelled out there. So it almost feels anti-climactic, but only because there are no twists or turns. You do get a little more information about that night and a couple of things that sort of stand out. But of course it doesn't change what happens... and the conclusion is still left in the hands of the reader. All of which is probably intentional.

I think I'm honestly in awe of this book. I've been talking it up to just about everyone I can think of. It will probably cross lots of genres and bring more adults into the YA world. I've read other books by this author and this is definitely the one that is going to stick with me. But I'm forever a fan.
Other Blog Reviews:

The Flyleaf Review
Justin's Book Blog
Refracted Light Reviews
Waking Brain Cells
Paper Cuts
Read. Write. Ramble.
A Nook for Books
The Reading Addict
We Live and Breathe Books

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Out This Week (November 2-8)

Another weekly roundup of great titles coming out this week. Take a look! 
 11.4.14 Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
11.4.14 Visitors (Pathfinder #3) by Orson Scott Card
 11.4.14 Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger
11.4.14 Broken by Marianne Curley
 11.4.14 Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster
11.4.14 The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
 11.4.14 The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
11.4.14 Anomaly by Tonya Kuper
 11.4.14 Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers
11.4.14 Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
11.4.14 Watched by C.J. Lyons
11.4.14 True Fire by Gary Meehan

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Out This Week (October 26-November 1)

This week is an amazing one for YA releases! Cannot wait to get my hands on these!!
10.28.14 Get Happy by Mary Amato
10.28.14 Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island) by Martina Boone
10.28.14 In the After Light (Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken
10.28.14 Atlantia by Ally Condie 
 10.28.14 Eternal (Shadow Falls: After Dark #2) by C.C. Hunter
10.28.14 Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa
 10.28.14 Waterfall (Teardrop #2) by Lauren Kate
10.28.14 Catalyst (Insignia #3) by S.J. Kincaid
 10.28.14 Beau, Lee, the Bomb, & Me by Mary McKinley
10.28.14 Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Swap by Megan Shull

Title: The Swap
Author: Megan Shull
ISBN: 97800623311696
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Released: August 26, 2014
Page #: 382
Source: ARC from the publisher

"Ellie spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. Jack spent it training in The Cage with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they're both ready for a change. And just as Jack's thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie's wishing she could be anyone but herself. Then, BAM! They swap lives - and bodies!

Now Jack is braving sleepover parties, while Ellie reigns as The PRince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on - and their feelings for each other grow - Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.

Told in alternating perspectives, The Swap offers fresh and funny insights into how the other half really lives. "
First Lines: (Quote from the galley, see final version for edits)

"It's sunny and it's summer and the three of us are sitting on the scratchy cement edge of the Riverside Swim Club pool, dangling our feet into the deep end.
Page 1

This was most definitely one of my favorite middle grade books I've read in a while.

Ellie and Jack are both in a tough spot at the beginning of school. They're unhappy about some big aspect of their lives and don't know how to change it. One witchy nurse changes all that - and puts them in each other's bodies. Each of them has a lot to learn about how differently they live... and it changes how they see their own lives.

I'm not sure how much of a review I can write about this book because I really loved it. I mean, the whole switching bodies thing is done really well. The things you wonder about are discussed easily. The whole bathroom issue, the morning situation for boys... it's all in there. And I feel like it's handled really well - and glossed over without it becoming too much of an issue.

I know some have complaints about the gender stereotypes, but I feel like it was fine. I mean, I can easily imagine these kids at any middle school, anywhere. Just because she plays for a soccer team that wears all pink and he has brothers who are so aggressive and tough, doesn't keep me from buying into the story completely. I love that the mean girl got called out so effectively and that both characters were able to help each other so much.

Now that I mention it, the whole sports and fitness thing was a really fun part of the story. The fact that both of them are very into team sports helped them understand each other even more. Their family lives are so different that you almost can't even understand how they could comprehend each other's struggles, but it works out really well.

The ending of this story almost left me in tears. There's a moment with Jack's father that really did make me tear up and I think it will have that effect on many readers. And I just loved how things wrapped up in a pretty package. I honestly don't think I could have asked for more from a middle grade book. I almost wish there were going to be more books about these characters because I loved them so much.

As you can imagine, I will be recommending this book to all of my upper middle grade readers. I think the whole physical differences discussions sort of push it outside of the early middle range... so this is almost more for the kid who is asking questions about body changes - mostly because it actually talks through some of it and might be a helpful tool. Either way, it's a great book and well written. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Other Blog Review: 

Little Book Star
Sarah Reads Too Much
Between the Pages
Book Loving Me
Gizmo's Book Reviews
Lisa Loves Literature
Paper Riot
Pingwing's Bookshelf
Those Summer Reading Nights
Gisbelle's YA Obsession

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