Saturday, April 26, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac- Gabrielle Zevin

If only Naomi had picked tails.

Oh-no. Wait. If only Naomi had allowed her partner in coin toss to pick heads. If only she had allowed Will to stick with heads, she would remember the last four years of her life. But Naomi picked heads, and that is what lands her in an ambulence with a mysterious boy named James, who tells Naomi that he wants to kiss her, but doesn't. He also tells the EMTs that he is her boyfriend, but unfortunately, he is not. Her real boyfriend, Ace, is one of the many things that have been wiped from Naomi's mind. One of the more fortunate things, because that boy is certainly nothing special. This is the story of Naomi, teenage amnesiac.

For six months, Naomi is catapulted into a world of classes she can't understand, a best friend who calls her by a questionable nickname, a family that has fallen into irreparable damage, classmates who hate her for reasons she could never comprehend, nad the tortured, utterly screwed-up and undeniably beautiful James, with whom she begins a remarkable but painful romance.

Gabrielle Zevin writes an original, stunning novel. It's humor is bittersweet, every joke laced with poignancy. It's a sad book, which I wouldn't have expected had I not read Zevin's debut novel, Elsewhere. The characters in Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac are real and beautiful, flawed and human. Naomi's voice rings true and strong; she's somehow relatable despite her incredible situation. After all, who among us can say that they've never wondered how their life ended up the way it is, or hated the person that they've become? This book is a quick and rewarding read, funny in parts but also heartbreaking- (James's "Forget Me" postcard brought me to tears.)

The story reminds us of family: and that even though mistakes can shatter a relationship, there's always duck tape around somewhere. It also shows that the people who we love can torture us, intentionally or not, and sometimes the most intense relationship isn't always the one that is best for our general sanity. Above all, Naomi's is a love story- and not necessarily with the obvious candidate.

Zevin's wonderful storytelling masterpiece reads like a personal mix CD, compiled by the person who knows each of us the best. Which, as Will would tell us, is no easy feat.

Five cups of coffee for this one; just don't spill them down any staircases!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Okay, so there are a few contests floating around here, including one to win a copy of The Day of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Details for this can be found on Reviewer X's blog. This contest ends on Saturday, the 26th, so go ahead and enter!

Elizabeth Scott, author of Perfect You, is also having a contest (where you have a chance of winning a copy of Sarah Dessen's Lock and Key). Here are the rules (copied straight from her myspace bulleting):

1.Buy a copy of Perfect You and save the receipt.

2. Take a photo of the receipt with your cell phone, digital camera, etc., and then send the picture to me at

Please make sure to include your name, as well as the email address it's best to contact you at.

3. Once I get the picture of your receipt, you'll be entered into the PERFECT YOU contest drawing.

Here are the prizes:

One person will receive an iPod nano OR a $200 gift certificate to the bookstore of their choice

Twenty people (yep, TWENTY) will each receive a $20 gift certificate to the bookstore of their choice

So, there's actually a total of twenty-one prizes (!) to be given away, and again, all you have to do to enter is buy Perfect You, and send a picture of your receipt to The contest will run through May 2nd, and I'll announce the winners on May 5th

Also! Everyone who enters the contest between now and May 2nd will also be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Sarah Dessen's new book, Lock and Key. I have ten copies to give away, and winners will be picked at random and notified on May 3rd.

Also, in other news, we haven't been able to get the links up yet to the sites we promised we'd trade links with, but they will be up soon enough (even if I have to go over to Caroline's house and do it myself).

I'm also thinking about a contest idea for us. We need books or items to give away before we can hold the contest, though, so if there are any authors reading this that would like to help out, please contact me at


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert

Emily Black did nothate Louisa, her mother, for leaving her as a baby. She wasn't affected when Louisa left to 'follow the music.' She doesn't act the way she does in hopes her mother will come back one day. She doesn't start a band of her own to bring Louisa back with music.

At least, that's what she tells everyone--even herself. That's what she tells her father. That's what she tells Regan, her best friend, and Regan's mother Molly--who also happens to have been Louisa's best friend, still is. She hides behind it all--the punk music, the drinking, the drugs, the sex.

Emily grew up around music. Her first steps were taken to the Beatles. Her mom and dad met while he was playing onstage. Her favorite thing to do after dinner is go down to the musty basement, pick out one of her father's records, and listen to it, eyes closed, head nodding. Music touches something in Emily. To her, there's no feeling in the world like being on stage, fingers strumming out and extraordinary riff, voice belting to the back wall. The adrenaline sucks her in, leaving nothing but hope, elation, fast pumping blood.
But there are things that can stand in her way. Mostly people--some 'rock gods.' At a young age, Emily becomes obsessed with scoring a rock god. Each one, though, turns out worse than she imagined. Through all these obstacles, Emily and Regan form their band and follow the scene.

Stephanie Kuehnert portrays this story magnificently well with perfect descriptions of the surroundings. Each new character she introduces, either it be from Louisa's point of view or Emily's, fits spectacularly into the story. She also writes truthfully of what Emily's life is like, including the aforementioned drugs, sex, and drinking.

I'm usually not fond of books with a small amount of dialogue, but I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is a huge exception, because all the words that are used instead are picked and manipulated in wonderful ways.

I--I'm nearly at a loss for words trying to express how much I enjoyed this book. None of what I've said so far has conveyed the message. At times, it could be heartbreaking, hilarious, touching, exciting, upsetting, elating and exhilarating. I loved this book 15 pages in and that feeling continued to grow the more I read, the closer I got to the end. In fact, the end was one of the best endings I've read in a very long time. It was a perfect close.

I don't think there could be any ill-words said about IWBYJR. I didn't have any complaints or disagreements with a thing (and that I can tell you, is very odd when I read a novel--very, very odd).

I guess, to sum it all up, I'm going to try to do it in one blurb. That blurb would say: "A miraculously well-written tale of a girl, her family, and the music that connects them. Flashback-filled. Astounding."

I know, good for a first try, right? Right? I hope so; I'm practicing for the blurbing book club.

I give it the full 5 cups, one each for the writing, plot, amazing heroine, incorporation of music, and the last for blowing me away with the 100% unique characters that I thoroughly enjoyed and will remember always.

(I'm working on finding a picture of five cups of coffee all in the same picture, but I'm not having very much luck. If any of you would like to take one, or find one for our benefit, please do and send it to Thank you)
p.s. You can preorder I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert at Amazon, Books-a-Million, Barnes and Noble, or Borders, whichever is your preference.
(oh yeah, and like Caroline, I appreciate the comments =D)

Friday, April 11, 2008

City of Ashes- Cassandra Clare

It's probably safe to say that you're a bad person when you buy a book for your friend's birthday and finish reading the copy two hours before her party. I can't argue with that. But, in my defense, there were two very extreme circumstances that lead to this decision. First, my friend Courtney is quite possibly the slowest reader ever. I mean, aside from small children and people who aren't fluent in the language that they're reading, of course. Second, though, is really important to this anecdote- you'll surely emphasize with me now. Second, the book happened to be the next installment in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments trilogy. See? You understand.

Clary Fray didn't want any of this to happen. She ddin't want her mother to land in a coma. She didn't want to lose her home. She didn't want things to be wierd with her best friend Simon. She did want to find an amazingly hot guy to fall for her-- but she definatley did not want to find out that he was a close blood relation. Above all, Clary really didn't have a strong desire to be pulled into the collapsing world of demons and angels that she never even knew existed.

But all of these things did happen, and unlike Simon and her father figure Luke, Clary isn't willing to pretend that they didn't. Even if the things she encounters in this new spectrum are terrifying and hideous. Even if her lingering feelings for Jace are unescapable and horribly uncomfortable for both of them. Clary has entered the Shadowhunter universe for good, and she is detirmined to help in the fight against Valentine, especially when he murders the Silent Brothers and steals the second Mortal Instrument- a sword that forces Nephilim to tell the truth. Clary and the rest embark on a mission to get the sword back and defeat Valentine, but it's no easy task when Jace is accused of being in alliance with his father- and who can say with all certainty that he isn't?

The second installment in Cassandra Clare's breathtakingly gorgeous trilogy, City of Ashes won't disappoint. It's a beautifully written book, full of adventure, danger, mythical creatures, plot twists, and romance- forbidden romance, which you should all know is my favorite kind.

The characters that we all adored in City of Bones are back, as well as some intruiging new additions. Jace, I feel I should assure you, is still as sexy as ever, which we all know is crucial.

As for his relationship with Clary... remarkably, not so gross. It just isn't. The author doesn't ignore their feelings for each other or the discovery of their blood relationship- instead, she deals with it in a heartbreaking and beautiful fashion. There's something, though, that leaves you with utter disbelief, just as there was in City of Bones. There's got to be a loophole, right? There has to be.

I also feel I must inform you that romantic scenes between Clary and Simon were far more gag-making than anything between Clary and Jace. Not a fan of those two at all.

But I'm getting off topic. City of Ashes is spectacular amazing greatness. Many, many pages of it. My only complaint about this novel? That City of Glass won't be available until next March.

Five cups of steaming hot, delicious caffeine!


P.S: I feel the need to do one more thing- remind you that comments are always appreciated. Unless, of course, you are the little nasty who is harrassing all of my companions in book reviewing. In this case, we are perfectly happy with the contents of our blog and do not want to hear from you. Otherwise, please tell me what you think of this review. Please?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tantalize (a very rare book)

A couple of you may have read my review for The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti a while back. Actually, most of probably haven't, but in that review and this one, some similarities can be noted. In both, you would expect a completely different rating at the end. In both, I complain, the turn around with a whole new take on the novel at hand. Prepare yourselves for a fickle review.
Sanguini's: A Very Rare Restaurant
is hiring a chef de cuisine. Dinners
only. Apply in person between 2:00
and 4:00 P.M.

Quincie Morris (in the words of Libba Bray) is a heroine in cowboy boots, living in Austin, Texas with her Uncle D after her parents' death. Life here can prove difficult and trying for Quincie. Her hybrid-werewolf best friend, Kieren, could possibly be leaving her. The chef at her family's restaurant is brutally murdered while she's in the next room. Her uncle is dating a horrendous vampire-wannabe named Ruby. And, on top of that, people are continuously going missing around Austin--and the ones that turn up have been attacked a killed.
As Quincie tries to get Sanguini's (the only restaurant in Austin centered around a vampire theme) ready for opening night, her suspicions, as well as those of the rest of the city, sway here and there. She can't help but think it was Kieren, who found Vaggio, the murdered chef, dead and was covered in his blood. But Kieren feels otherwise. He thinks it was a vampire or vampires that tried to make it appear to be done by Wolves. Quincie has no idea what to believe and puts it out of her mind as she tries to transform the new chef, Henry Johnson, in the the Vampire Chef she needs to present on opening night.

When I first opened Tantalize, I was instantly worried. The font was just that huge. And, before I go any further, I should probably stop and explain. I, as well as Caroline, feel that large font is patronizing, condescending, and annoying. When I open a book and the font is large, I'm instantly on my guard, preparing for the worst. Needless to say, that was my first issue: the font was huge.

But then, I started reading, and the font became background, hidden beneath other, worse things. For starters, it was a tad confusing. There were tidbits of information with little to no explanation. There was no background story. There was nothing to support the present, the start of it all I assume, since apparently there was no past. There were inside jokes with no story, things I didn't and couldn't get. Complaint 2.

My third and final complaint, is that everyone seems to be something. No one is a nice, enchanting, entertaining character. Everyone has a crucial role. And those who are minor characters are included in the mythology. Small characters are were-people, a completely redundant phrase that literally translates into man-people, but is used to refer to any person that can transform themselves into a specific animal. There are, of course, the werewolves, but then you also have the werecats, the wereopossums, the werearmodillos, the (possibly nonexistent) weregators, the werevultures, and whatever other were___ you can think of. There are so many of these.

But, not matter how much I gripe and complain about his book, in the end, there's only one conclusion. I can only make one opinion. I really, really enjoyed Tantalize. It was fantastic. Cynthia Leitich Smith created an astounding plot line that, at some moments, was predictable, but at others exciting and interesting. She developed believable characters that could exist in real life as ordinary humans, not vampires and werepeople. I don't know how to express my favorite parts of this book without first quoting Libba Bray to help me along: "Looking for something to read that will make your TV jealous? Tantalize has it all--hot vampires and wolf-boys, a super-cool heroine in cowboy boots, nail-biting suspense, romance, chills 'n' thrills, and Austin, Texas. What more could you want?"

My answer? Nothing.

Tantalize even made me think. Because there were so many little things that were a tad irritating, I had to wonder if I like it or not. Turns out I loved it, only deducting one cup of coffee for my three complaints.

4 out of 5 cups of coffee for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalize.

Waiting for the second installment to come out already, loving the perfect ending to the first, and moving on to the rest of my books waiting to be reviewed,

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New Contest

The Page Flipper is having another monthly Prize Pack contest for April!

This months books are:
Class Favorite by Taylor MorrisSara Thurman has never considered herself part of the popular crowd - she's got her best friend Arlene and that seems like enough. But when Sara's mom sends a special Valentine's Day delivery (PERIOD FLOWERS!) to her class, all of a sudden Sara is very famous - only for a horribly embarrassing reason! It seems everyone at Bowie Junior High knows something about Sara that she'd rather keep to herself and the harder Sara tries to blend in the more she ends up sticking out. Not only that, but it suddenly seems that Arlene doesn't have time for her anymore, and she has an unbearable crush on Jason who doesn't have any idea who she is (until now, that is). Worst of all, nothing's felt the same since Sara's dad left home. It all has Sara wondering if things will ever return to normal -- especially if she can't even remember what normal feels like. Sara can't figure out why it seems that everyone else has it easier than she does - would things be better if she were popular? Sara decides that if she can't beat 'em then she'll join 'em -- and she hatches a top secret mission to become....Class Favorite.
Totally Joe by James HoweJoe's teacher asks his seventh-grade class to write an alphabiography throughout the year, presenting themselves and their lives in entries from A to Z. Joe's essays begin and end with friends, from Addie, a long-time pal and confidant, to Zachary, a new student who, like Joe, has a unique approach to life. Throughout, Joe demonstrates that he truly is a one-of-a-kind kid, mostly comfortable with himself but still struggling with common adolescent issues. It's difficult for him to relate to his athletic brother, and he misses his much-loved Aunt Pam, who moves to New York City. He also comes to grips with his sexuality, questioning gender expectations and traditional roles as he realizes he is gay. Because he is different, he is tormented by Kevin, who calls him a girl and faggot and falsely accuses him of kissing his friend Colin (a jock not yet ready to come out).
Hershey Herself by Cecilia GalanteWhen twelve-year-old Hershey must run away with her mother to a women's shelter, she wonders how, among other things, she'll compete in the town talent show with her best friend, Phoebe; who will take care of her cat, Augustus Gloop; and if she'll survive being on a new bus route with her sworn enemy.
Shug by Jenny HanTall, freckled, gawky seventh-grader Annemarie Wilcox (whose family calls her Shug) has a beautiful, popular older sister; a gorgeous, alcoholic mother who doesn't fit in their small Georgia town; and a father who's always away on business. She also has a huge crush on Mark, the neighborhood boy who has always been her best friend. As the school year starts, Shug must deal with Mark's rejection, her parents' bitter fights, and a falling out with her closest girlfriend.
Dumped by Popular Demand by P.G. KainDorie Dilts has just moved from California to New Jersey. For most kids this would be horrendous, but for Dorie it's the chance to conduct the most important research of her young life. She is determined to pour all of her scientific knowledge into an experiment that will, once and for all, make her popular! Dorie's first discovery is easy enough: She determines that the Holly Trinity -- led by class president Holly McAdams -- is the hottest clique. The one thing the three girls have in common? They all dated and got dumped by Grant Bradish, the cutest and most obnoxious boy in school. Getting dumped is one thing, but even if Dorie finds a way to get Grant to go out with her, will she want to date a total jerk?
For the rules and details go to The Page Flipper's Blog
Also, head on over to Free Alan Rickman for a T-shirt contest where you can enter a design for a T-shirt relating to Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson or Freeing Alan Rickman, and, if you win, you will get a FREEBIE of your own design. You can also buy any of the T-shirt's created as other entrees and all commissions will go back into the contest and any profit will go to The Freedom to Read Foundation ( Head on over and enter! (to go directly to the contest rules, click here)
(see review for Devilish by Maureen Johnson below)

Devilish- Maureen Johnson

When you're done reading this review, type something into your address bar for me. Type, "" Press Go. Wait. Explore.

When you enter Maureen Johnson's website, you find yourself in an entrancing universe where reality serves little purpose. You pause on almost every FAQ and wonder. Every detail of Johnson's lifre causes a frown of confusion followed by a smile of delight; a whirlwind of adventures through blog entries. The line between fiction and nonfiction is so slippery that it's cast aside. You foret to say, "Really?", forget to reread a particularily unbelievable passage. You become a part of the craziness, and "Really?" becomes irrelevant.

Reading her books is a similar experience.
Devlish is the tail of Jane Jarvis, a bona fide genius with a mouth as smart as she is. A series of misdemeanors have led her to the edge of expulsion and prohibited her from popularity, but she doesn't mind- she'll always have her best friend Allison, an adorably awkward girl, whose social screw-ups aren't quite so cute in everyone else's eyes.

Until Little-Big day.

Allison reaches a new high on the humiliation scale when she throws up on a freshman during the most important event of the year. Hysterical in a bathroom scale, Allison meets Lanalee, a cool, sophisticated sugar-addict, who somehow changes everything.
Gone is the Allison that Jane has always known. The girl who has replaced her is well-dressed and intelligent; she posesses a social grace that neither Allison nor herself have ever come close to before. And it's not just Allison. Strange people are showing up all over Providence- a creepy but charming man who seems to be everywhere Jane is, peppering her with questions and seemingly useless trivia; a cute (but much too young) freshman stalker named Owen. Everything familiar to Jane has shifted- her old life is unrecognizable, and the line between fantasy and reality is becoming more blurred by the second.
Allison confesses to Jane that she has sold her soul to the devil. Jane, who attends Catholic high school but is far from secure in her faith, is skeptical to say the least. But when a series of unbelievable events unfold, Jane is forced to accept the reality of the situation- and put her life on the line for a possibly backstabbing friend.

Devilish is a brilliant novel that has everything you could ask for in a book: romance, friendship, adventure, perfume bottles, dead people, demons, nuns, and... (if you weren't sold by now, here's the kicker...) CAKE! I read Devilish in an hour and a half, and I couldn't put it down the entire time. Maureen Johnson expertly builds suspense while keeping the plot well-developed and intact. The concepts presented about hell and the devil are original and ingenius. The writing itself is spectacular, as previous readers have learned to expect from the
whimsical brilliance that is Maureen Johnson.
If you haven't read this or Johnson's other five novels, you are definately missing out on a whole lot of wonderful. Each of the books that I've read have been funny, intelligent, sparkly creations that I took more delight in than almost any of the hundreds of books that I've read. I'm seriously psyched for her very first series, Suite Scarlett, which is on sale NOW! Just from the first chapter, I'm hooked, so that will definately be amazing! (If anyone wants to buy me this book, I shall love you for all of eternity.) But go out and buy it yourself, as well as Maureen Johnson's other books.
Devilish recieves five cups of coffee(and a cupcake on the side.) :D

Lovely graphics, aren't they?