Stephanie Perkins

A Valentine Post

by sarahenni on February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m posting as part of YA Highway’s Blog Circus Lovefest, and I couldn’t decide on just one object of affection to send a Valentine’s Card to. So I gathered a few of my favorite characters, and scoured Etsy for cards that would perfectly capture my love. It was a tough job but … okay, fine, it was totally fun. I had a blast finding the cards, and casting the characters—so here they are, my Valentines!

 

I’d send the dreamily odd Cricket Bell (from Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door and cast here as Nicholas Hoult) this fun, funky card—appropriately made in San Francisco! The polar opposite of moody, broody rocker Max, Cricket Bell was smart and a bit silly. But his loyalty and genuine nature made him one of my absolute favorite YA boys… next to Etienne, of course!

Warner from Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me is a lot of things: controlling, manipulative, demanding, ruthless… a touch psycho? But as the book goes on it’s clear there’s a whole lot more to Warner than meets the eye. The promise of a heart-wrenching backstory and surprising plot twist or two is enough to get me hooked for Unravel Me, and to keep me on Team Mysterious and Tortured. But you can’t just give a man like that a box of candy hearts, so Warner (played here, per the author’s suggestion, by an extraordinarily smoldering fox in a tux whose name I don’t even care to know because it’d ruin the mystique) would get this simple card with a complicated message by Fifi Du Vie.

Oh hi, Love Interest in the forthcoming Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. I don’t know you. Not even your name—seriously, there’s no hint of anything on Goodreads even. But I’m prepared, nay, predetermined to fall madly, wildly, foolishly in love with you. And every minute we are apart? Every day that the elusive ARC of Bitterblue passes hands and I remain clueless about each of its 500+ pages? I miss you more. Happy freaking Valentine’s Day, mystery dude.

Oh, Gale. Pretty, helpless, moping-in-a-meadow Gale. Get back in the coal mines, buddy—Peeta got your girl by painting himself into dirt. I know,  it sucks. But take the advice of this apt, and awesome, print (also by Fifi Du Vie) and don’t get too bogged down with, you know. Thoughts.

I was also dying to give away this Valentine to a fictional studmuffin:

But I couldn’t think of just the right guy (or gal!). Who would you send it to?

For other Valentine’s awesomeness, check out the other Blog Lovefest posts, and rock out to my collection of non-romantic Valentine’s Dance Break songs!

{ 38 comments }

Most Anticipated of 2012

by sarahenni on December 30, 2011

Just so we don’t spend the ENTIRE week getting too weepy about leaving 2011 behind, today we’re all going to discuss what books we can’t wait for in 2012! Hold onto your spectacles, because 2012 is going to be JAM PACKED with books I am salivating over.

Veronica Roth’s Insurgent

May 28

I find Tris Prior to be one of the most refreshing YA characters I’ve ever read. How she struggles with fighting for what she wants versus feeling guilty for wanting it reflects a truly painful human conflict we all battle, regardless of age. Tris suffers from an inability to bullshit the world about who she is, and people don’t always take kindly to teens (and in particular young women) who live that way. The people in Tris’ world REALLY don’t take kindly to it, and I’m so eager to see where Roth takes Tris, both in the geographic world of the Divergent series and in her emotional journey.

Erin Jade Lange Butter

Date TBA

I remember reading the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement about this book, and the concept really struck me: “A boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make Scottsdale High history. He’s going to eat himself to death live on the Internet – and everyone will watch. He announces his deadly plan to an army of peers and expects pity, insults or even indifference. Instead, he finds morbid encouragement.” And a funny thing happened with this idea. It stuck around. I kept thinking about it when there was a rash of horrible teen suicides last year. When the Hunger Games movie started discussions about teens interacting with the world through “reality” shows. I love this concept, and most of all I’m so eager to read how Lange handled these issues in her book, and see what kind of discussions it sparks.

Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue

May 1

I’ve struggled over the last two years with some YA heroines who are physically, butt-kicking strong, but who lack a nuanced emotional vulnerability. Kristin Cashore’s fantasy books feature leading ladies who assert themselves physically, and lead rich and complicated inner lives. Cashore brings each character such depth that their struggles with innate superpowers or neon monsters seem totally relatable. I can’t WAIT to see what Bitterblue has in store for us!

Stephanie Perkins Isla and the Happily Ever After

Fall 2012

With Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, Perkins has crafted two stories that are some of the best contemporary YA I’ve ever read, and I’d argue the most natural, fresh voice in that genre right now. What’s drawn me to her work, along with the perfect pacing and general quirky spirit, are the boys. These are boys. By that I mean, dudes. Guys. People that I’ve met, that I’ve known, that I’ve loved. They’re imperfect, they’re not drop-dead gorgeous, they’re awkward, they’re scared to death of the women they’re attracted to. Etienne, Cricket, and Josh are the most swoon-worthy boys in YA that I’ve ever met, and quite frankly I married one of them. It’s an absolute joy to see Perkins translate the thrills of falling in love with someone so real.

(GPOAB* included in lieu of not-released book art because he/Seth Cohen typify the type of guy that Perkins writes, and also, I think she’d approve.)

Justin Cronin’s The Twelve

August 28

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! There is no conceivable way I can wait another eight months for this book, the sequel to Cronin’s 2010 novel The Passage (pictured above because artwork for The Twelve is being shrouded in mystery and impending terror, no doubt). I loved The Passage more than I have loved a book in a very long time, because though it clocks in at an astounding 800 pages, not a scene is unnecessary, not a word misplaced. The action is tense, the characters are vibrant, the world is, in a word, angsdngfksd. Everyone called this a vampire book, but it was really more like a vampire-zombie post apocalyptic mash-up of Mad Max and 28 Days Later. I will be pre-ordering this to my Kindle and staying awake to begin reading the minute it downloads.

 Check out what everyone else had to say!

Erin Bowman

Kaitlin Ward

Kate Hart

Kathleen Peacock

Kirsten Hubbard

Kristen Halbrook

Kristin Otts

Lindsey Roth Culli

Phoebe North

Stephanie Keuhn

Sumayyah Doud

Veronica Roth

* Gratuitous Picture of Adam Brody

{ 8 comments }

2011 in: Favorite Books

by sarahenni on December 28, 2011

And now for the ultimate end-of-the-year reading list, my favorite reads of 2011! There were so, so many books that swept me off my feet this year, I had an extremely hard time narrowing my list down!

The Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I had some issues with the last third of the book, but the journey getting there was so incredible, I wouldn’t (and haven’t) hesitate to recommend this to anyone. Reading a Laini Taylor book is like sitting down at a word buffet where everything is rich and dripping in sauce. She can spin a world with just a few sentences that you’ll want to be stuck in forever, and evokes Prague as a dark, funky, ethereal otherworld. And DoS&B’s main character Karou was one of the most interesting, unique, fun, independent leads in YA this year.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Reading Ashes was like taking a crash course in conflict and raising the stakes. I simply couldn’t put the book down, because every few pages something wrenched my heart into a tighter knot and I had to keep going because omg wtf is going to happen are you serioussss! I’ve been reading a lot of zombie books over the last couple of years, and this one had me flipping the pages double-quick. I can’t imagine how it could get worse for Alex, but then again that’s what I thought every chapter along the way. VERY excited about the sequel, too!

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is non-pareil when it comes to evoking the most pure, unadulterated (har har) experience of being a teenager in love. Her characters are complex, genuine, selfish, loving, confused, brave. Her stories are rich—and funny!  When I read Perkins’ books I feel like the stories could come from my life—if I were cuter, my family were quirkier, and the world outside my door was gorgeous and romantic every day. It is an absolute joy to read Lola and Anna, which is probably why I’ve already read both several times.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Quentin and the Brakebills gang returned in maybe the first sequel book I’ve ever read that actually improves, significantly, upon the original. When Lev Grossman came out with The Magicians a couple of years ago, I was pretty dang excited. Reviews trumpeted it as “like Hogwarts, but with more illicit fondling.” Like I was gonna say no? And I enjoyed it—I definitely did, and would recommend it to adult fans of sci-fi and fantasy—but in the end wasn’t blown away by the outcome of the story. Happily, The Magician King is exactly what I hoped The Magicians would be. In my opinion, this sequel exceeds the original in pretty much every way. The first book was lacking something of the hero’s journey that I’ve come to want/expect from fantasy, or at least it lacked the kind of reflection on Quentin’s journey that I wanted. Well, the second book was entirely about the pursuit of a hero’s journey, the subversion of it, and then twisting it again. All the while, Grossman is weaving a funny, crazy-readable story every bit as brutal at its core as The Magicians was. (Also, I am truly terrible at this whole reviewing business. For more eloquent reflection, please see Phoebe North’s review.)

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Valente is a poet, and every rich, meaty sentence brings that home in this book. Heartbreaking and gorgeous, I found myself re-reading paragraphs and saying words aloud, soaking up the beauty and wonder in each painstakingly wrought phrase. Valente’s book reminded me why we line edit, why we select words carefully, and how we can better imbue our everyday prose with a sense of magic and whimsy. I challenge anyone who claims to be tired of myth retellings to take this book under consideration. I had not heard any of these old Russian myths before, but it didn’t matter. Set against the devastation of early 20th-century Stalingrad, Valente takes traditional Russian myths and evokes them in heart-wrenching poetic detail.

 Check out what everyone else had to say!

Corrine Jackson

Erin Bowman

Kaitlin Ward

Kate Hart

Kathleen Peacock

Kirsten Hubbard

Kristen Halbrook

Kristin Otts

Lindsey Roth Culli

Phoebe North

Stephanie Keuhn

Sumayyah Doud

Veronica Roth

{ 9 comments }

5 Favorite YA Characters

by sarahenni on December 27, 2011

Today we’re sharing some of our favorite characters from 2011. I love pointing out characters that have left an impression on me, because—though every great book needs great characters—not all great characters come from our favorite overall stories. It’s a different way to think about all the books I read, and I’m happy to say that the characters I listed (split into five girls and five boys, in no particular order) have stuck with me like good friends.

The Girls

Karou from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Lola Nolan from Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door

Marya Morevna from Catherynne M. Valente’s Deathless

Tris from Veronica Roth’s Divergent

Fire from Kristin Cashore’s Fire

I think Molly Quinn could pull off Fire's mix of strength and vulnerability

The Guys

Tiny Cooper from John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson Will Grayson

Dr. Pellinore Warthrop from Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist

Quentin from Lev Grossman’s The Magician King

Adam from Gayle Forman’s Where She Went

Warner from Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me

Aaron Johnson has the perfect self-satisfied smirk to play Warner

 Check out what everyone else had to say!

Corrine Jackson

Erin Bowman

Kaitlin Ward

Kate Hart

Kathleen Peacock

Kirsten Hubbard

Kristin Otts

Lindsey Roth Culli

Phoebe North

Stephanie Keuhn

Sumayyah Doud

Veronica Roth

{ 4 comments }