I am extending the deadline for the contest to win an ARC of SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, an ARC of THE ELITE, a $25 gift card to Amazon, and a copy of the latest LUXE novel, ENVY due to the stunning lack of entries. Although over 250 people have looked at the contest, hardly anyone’s entered! So, I’m extending the contest deadline till May 15th. Tell your friends! Who doesn’t want a gift card to Amazon.com? Or ARC’s? Am totally puzzled.
So I’m going to start a few feature where once a week I will post on a YA title that I think is absolutely kick a$$ 🙂 This week I HAVE to post on Laurie Halse Anderson’s newest novel, WINTERGIRLS because I just finished it in less than 24 hours, and it absolutely blew me away.
“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.
In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.
I cannot express how much this novel knocked me out. Anderson is clearly writing at the top of her game–every paragraph, every word choice is stunningly effective at creating and embellishing the often claustrophobic world of anorexia, bulimia, and self mutilation. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, and the technique kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what would happen next. This book is beautifully written. Did I mention that’s it’s beautifully written? Because it is. In fact, this book comes closer to breaking the form of the novel and dissolving into pure, heartwrenching poetry than ANY young adult title written in verse that I have ever read. Plain and simple, Anderson is an artist. I love the way that Cassie haunts Lia in the book, giving a name and face to Lia’s anorexia and self destructive behavior that threatens to completely overtake her. I also thought that the winter imagery that inflects the book was a particularly apt way of describing the effects of an eating disorder, not only on the physical body, but the mind as well. Lia’s thoughts are veritably frozen–she cannot get past her issues with food, issues which are intrinsically linked with the bulimia-related death of her best friend. I won’t give away the ending, but I literally could not rip myself away from this book during the final ten pages–I was absolutely riveted, I also really enjoyed the fact that this book really wasn’t about a boy/girl love interest per se—-there’s a cute guy in it, sure, but if this novel is a love story, it chronicles the deep affection between two best friends, and the ramifications of their intense relationship with food–and with each other. I am not even nearly doing this book justice with this review, but know this: WINTERGIRLS is the reason that I’ve begun this feature–I was compelled to write about it, to urge others to read it. As a private school teacher, and as a woman living in contemporary society, I have seen eating disorders up close and personal, and they are not pretty. I haven’t read a book since Marya Hornbacher’s WASTED that does this complicated subject justice, and WINTERGIRLS definitely delivers because it does not simply scratch the surface by offering easy, pat answers to complicated problems, it goes far into the depths of a disordered psyche, and lets us experience the world through her fractured, isolated vision. As readers, Anderson allows us to walk in Lia and Cassie’s shoes and experience their transition from typical American teens, to frozen wintergirls, hell-bent on destroying the one thing they cannot abide—themselves.
A must-read. Kristi over at The Story Siren said it best–as difficult as this book is to begin, you will find it even more unbearable to contemplate stopping.
You’re been waiting for it, hoping that maybe it would happen, and now it’s here! So, the news is that I’m staring at a box of precious SI galleys. Most are going to be shipped off to the new publicity firm I’ve hired to help get the word out about SI, but I’ve reserved TWO for my lovely readers! This is going to be the contest to END all contests, because not ONLY does the winner get a SIGNED ARC of SI, but ALSO a $25 Amazon.com gift card, a SIGNED ARC of THE ELITE (these are collectors items, people), AND a copy of the newest installment of THE LUXE series, ENVY!
So, how do you win? Easy. Comment on this post and tell me what you HOPE will happen in SI, the third and final installment of THE ELITE series. You must ALSO follow my blog, or become a follower to win (look on the right side of this page and scroll down till you see a little orange symbol, and the word FOLLOW. Click this!), AND you MUST post about the contest on your blog, MySpace, or another site.
The contest will run until May 1st. I will give away the SECOND ARC of SI next month!
Ready, set . . .ENTER!
Today we have Jennifer O’Connell stopping by! Jennifer is the editor of the new anthology EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME. I know that I, for one, am DEFINITELY picking this one up–I was (and am) a HUGE Judy Blume fan. When I was growing up, I had a pretty bad case of scoliosis, and, as a result, I spent most of elementary school stuck in a huge, plastic back brace. When I first read DEENIE, I felt, for the first time, like someone really understood what I was going through. I also wore really thick glasses, so I was pretty much a total freak until I hit junior high. Because I felt so different from everyone else in my school, I read constantly, disappearing into other worlds to escape my own. To this day the feeling I love most in the world is the joy of having a fresh stack of brand new library books piled by the side of my bed. Needless to say, I ripped through Blume’s whole catalog shortly after discovering DEENIE!
I wasn’t allowed to read FOREVER because my mom thought the subject matter was “too adult,” so I locked myself in the bathroom every day after school until I finished it! I reread it recently, and it brings me right back to being 14 and thinking sex was such an unbelievable mystery that I’d NEVER fully understand it. I was probably too young to read FOREVER when I did, but it has remained one of my favorite Judy Blume books. . . along with ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME, MARGARET.
About the Book:
Whether laughing to tears reading Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great or clamoring for more unmistakable “me too!” moments in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, girls all over the world have been touched by Judy Blume’s poignant coming-of-age stories. Now, in this anthology of essays, twenty-four notable female authors write straight from the heart about the unforgettable novels that left an indelible mark on their childhoods and still influence them today. Drawing on their own experiences of feeling like a Fourth Grade Nothing before growing up to become Smart Women themselves, these writers pay tribute, through their reflections and most cherished memories, to one of the most beloved authors of all time.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Everything-Needed-About-Being-Learned/dp/1439102651/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239580740&sr=8-1
About the Author:
Jennifer O’Connell is the author of ten books, the most recent of which are her two teen novels Local Girls and Rich Boys. She received her BA from Smith College and her MBA from the University of Chicago. Visit her website at http://www.jenniferoconnell.com and http://www.jennyoconnell.com.
Praise for the Book:
JUDY BLUME STILL ROCKS!
“Funny, poignant, honest, and reverential, these stories will resonate strongly with the legions of readers who, like the authors, are grateful and lifelong Blume devotees.”
“From bittersweet to laugh-out-loud hilarious, the essays in this collection all sparkle with charm, style, and wit. No doubt about it, if you grew up reading Judy Blume, you will love this book.”
—Sarah Mlynowski, author of Spells & Sleeping Bags and Me vs. Me
“Writing in the spirit of Blume, these women present their experiences as a series of personal truths: ‘girl moments. Woman moments. Human moments.’”
And now, for the same questions about glamor and celebrity I always ask!
What (or who) do you consider to be glamorous and why?
Probably some old time movie star, like Lauren Bacall or Grace Kelly. They were so elegant and epitomized class. There’s no one today who does that.
If you weren’t a writer, what other career would you like to attempt?
Ice cream taster. Chocolate chip cookie dough taster. Suntan lotion tester. Beach comber.
What is the one article of clothing in your closet that you can’t bear to part with?
My faded, ripped Levi’s from college.
Who is your fav celebrity?
If you could put together a “dream cast” of the big screen version of your book, who would play the leads?
Wow. That’s so hard. I have absolutely no idea!! But I’d cast my dad as “the father” in any of them – he’s an actor in LA.
Britney: Comeback or train wreck?
What is your fav glam or exotic location to visit? (Mine’s Paris!)
I love Anguilla. Would move there tomorrow and live an island life in a heartbeat.
Which character in your work do you most relate to and why?
All of my main characters. They’re each a little part of me (yes, I’m not that imaginative).
Thanks for stopping by, Jenny! If you’re a Judy Blume fan, you should DEFINITELY add this one to your to-read pile! So, what’s YOUR favorite Judy Blume book and WHY?
When I wrote the final ELITE book, SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, which will be released on July 7th, I gave the characters their own reality TV show called De-Luxe. I modeled it after Bravo shows such as The Real Housewives, and gave De-Luxe the tag line of “The REAL Gossip Girls of NYC.”
So guess what Bravo–and the LA Times– just announced? That’s right!
Bravo orders up real-life ‘Gossip Girl’ reality series ‘NYC Prep’
03:22 PM PT, Apr 9 2009
Is a real-life “Gossip Girl” website next?
Taking a cue from the CW’s successful drama, Bravo has ordered the similarly prep school-set documentary series “NYC Prep.” The show will premiere Tuesday, June 16 and take over the Tuesday at 10 p.m. time slot currently occupied by “The Real Housewives’” franchise.
Similar to the book series-turned-TV show, “NYC Prep” will follow six high school students who are “firmly entrenched in Manhattan’s social circle,” said Bravo executive vice president and general manager Frances Berwick.
The programming move follows many successful docu-series based on fictional TV hits, such as “Laguna Beach” and “The O.C.” and Bravo’s own “The Real Housewives” franchise, loosely based on “Desperate Housewives.”
“Bravo continues to intrigue audiences with real-life depictions of relatable characters who live in exclusive worlds,” Berwick said.
“NYC Prep” is produced by Stone & Company Entertainment, which also produces the Bravo program “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.”
— Kate Stanhope
This is SO exciting, even though NYC Prep is kind of a lame title. I can’t wait to compare the characters and the series, to my own fictional show!
I’m being featured as author of the month over at Five Awesome YA fans! The month will be filled with lots of giveaways, blog posts, and general fabulousness, so go over there and join in all the fun! Thanks to the always awesome Devyn Burton for making it all happen. *Tear!*
I just posted an interview with myself and the dreamy, delicious, Drew Van Allen where you can ask him questions! Just comment on the post and Drew will get right back to you!
Stay tuned, I am posting a HUGE contest this coming week, so check in here frequently!
is . . . .
Lisa please email me ASAP and I’ll get your copy right out to you!!!!!