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October 2005

Teen Read Week, and the Teens Top Ten Nominees

Teen Read Week begins October 16, but if you get going now, you actual teenagers you, you can read the hot books and then VOTE October 16-22 at the website above to determine the Top Ten of the year.

To see the full list with teenage nominator commentary, you've got to download a PDF file, which doesn't take long. Here are a few that I haven't read or mentioned yet, that look particularly interesting:

Candy, by Kevin Brooks
Finding Grace, by Alyssa Brugman
Talk, by Kathe Koja
Hawkes Harbor, by S.E. Hinton
Mermaid Park, by Beth Myall
How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick
Gangsta Rap, by Benjamin Zephaniah

plus one I am currently reading:
The Truth about Forever, by Sarah Dessen

Also nominated are titles by Dorian Cirrone, Cecil Castelluci, Brent Hartinger, John Green, Carolyn Mackler, Marc Acito, and Louise Rennison -- all favorites of mine. So get reading and then vote!

More on Banned Books Week


Hurrah again for banned books week. This poster is made by my publisher, Random House.

If you're in high school, here's what I think you should do to celebrate (besides reading some of the books listed in this earlier post.)
Go to the library at your school. Talk to the librarian. Tell that librarian you're interested in the issue of book banning, and ask if he or she has any stories to tell about books being banned in your community. Then ask that librarian to recommend something good to read, banned or un-.
Librarians love this. It's their job. They won't mind.

What High School Clique Do I Belong To?

You scored as Emo Kid. You listen to emo. 'Nuff said.
You know how to dress.
You usually feel as if nobody understands you.

Emo Kid




















What Highschool Clique Do You Belong To?
created with

Okay. I am completely showing my age here, but I do not even know what an Emo Kid is!
I don't deserve to be writing for teenagers, obviously.

Truth is, I was a loner/geek at my first high school and a popular kid/drama girl at my second.

This is a fun quiz, though. I liked taking it.

Banned Books Week

IlovebannedIt's banned books week, Sept 24-October 1, 2005. Fight censorship and celebrate the power of words! At the very least, you could just BUY one of these books, to show your support for authors whose right to free speech has been challenged.

(these are all YA -interest books)

Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Deenie, by Judy Blume
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Forever, by Judy Blume
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman, by Paul Zindel
Lord of the Flies, by Wiliam Golding
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher

All those books are on the ALA's list of top 100 banned books. Here's a link to an early blog entry that names them all. I have read 43 of them. And I'll read an other this week!

There's lots of great information about banned books on Chris Crutcher's website. He's the author of The Sledding Hill, Whale Talk, Ironman and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, as well as the two mentioned above.

The logo below: on the left, from the ALA (The American Library Association). It reads: "Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance." -- Lyndon Johnson. And then: "It's your freedom we're talking about."

The one at the top of this post was made by the awesome Literaticat to wear as buttons. But I think it looks nice on a website, too. Yay!


Melanie Lynn Hauser's Boyfriend List


Melanie Lynne Hauser is on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit with me, and she sent in one of my favorite boyfriend lists so far. As you'll see when Fly on the Wall comes out, I love superheroes, and Melanie's book, Confessions of a Super Mom, should entertain the teenage and the parental among you, both.

The gist: a mom becomes a superhero due to inhaling the fumes of many household cleaning agents mixed together -- and aided by her teenage son, she attempts to save her daughter from heartbreak and her neighborhood from destruction.

"Forget the laundry, forget the dishes. Escape into the world of Super Mom for a few'll be glad you did. Melanie Lynne Hauser's quirky characters sparkle brightly as a newly Swiffered floor, and her writing shines like freshly polished glass."
Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Every Boy's Got One

Anyway, though I do think Melanie overlooks the superlative hotness of Wolverine and the super-sensitivity of The Thing, her superhero boyfriend list made me laugh.

"Why You Should Never Date a Superhero" Boyfriend list....
by Melanie Lynne Hauser

Since in CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM, my heroine, Birdie Lee, becomes a superhero, she is naturally curious about her fellow superheroes. She is also, currently, single. (Although she has a perfectly wonderful nerdy scientist boyfriend.) But still, you can't blame a girl for wondering what it would be like to date an actual superhero...and I feel, as her spiritual guide, that it's my duty to try to prevent this from happening.

First rule of dating a superhero is, never date a superhero. There is a huge potential for loss of limb, not to mention life, due to the very annoying habit of the superhero's archnemesis to continually try to put the superhero's loved ones in dangerous situations. (Remember poor old Mary Jane dangling off that bridge in the Spiderman movie?) But if you are a thrill seeker and don't mind risking life and limb, I ask you to further consider the neuroses and general emotional train wrecks that come with the following:

1) Batman. OK, get over it. He may be dark and brooding, and yes, we all like dark and brooding, but please. The man lives in a cave. He likes bats. Now, I admit the wealth and the butler are both highly attractive, but there's simply no way a woman can penetrate that man's gloominess. Besides which, there's the whole relationship with Robin which we might want to question, if we are thinking with half a brain.

2) Superman. Granite jaw? Check. Perfect little curl on the forehead? Check. Ridiculous obsession with one particularly lame, whiny girl reporter who can't prevent herself from being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, over and over? Check.

3) Spiderman. He's a little juvenile, if you ask me. He's prone to whininess, and all that self-doubt about not being a normal teen, and then there's his clingy Aunt May. I think there's a mess of baggage that comes along with that whole package, don't you think? Plus, well, spiders. Yuck.

4) Aquaman. He talks to fish. I really don't think I need to say anything further about that.

5) The Flash. OK, there's some potential here. I think that he's actually one of the more well-adjusted superheroes. He could also be very handy when it comes to running errands. His costume isn't bad, either - not really tights, more like an aerodynamically engineered skintight suit, which with those pecs ain't a bad thing. I really can't find anything to dislike here. Let's mark him as a "maybe."

6) The Green Lantern. Anyone who claims he was visited by aliens and given a decoder ring can I say this? - nuts! And while a man who's that interested in jewelry can't be all bad - I mean, it's an awesome ring, and so a girl might be forgiven for thinking that she could get some really nice Christmas gifts from a man like this - the alien thing really gives me pause. Sure, I know there are some women who swooned over Fox Mulder from The X-Files, but there's a difference between a man who's convinced aliens abducted his little sister, and a man who's convinced aliens have tapped him to become a Guardian of the Universe. And that little thing is called ego. Run, girls, run!

7) The Hulk. Temper, temper! That's all I need to say.

8) The X-Men. I refer to them collectively. They're mutants, and they have tempers, and most importantly, there seems to be a bit of a superiority complex among that group. It probably comes from being shunned by society for so long. Plus think of the competition, girls - they already have several luscious female mutants among them. I'd be worried if I sent my boyfriend off to work every day beside that Storm, you know? Girlfriend has moves. Snap!

9) Captain America. Just a bit of a Dudley-Do-Right, you know? Kind of a square. And probably a little too much into NASCAR for my tastes.

10) Robin, the Boy Wonder. Well, right there, I'm not so sure. Boy? Wonder? Seems like someone's really trying to assert his manliness, if you know what I mean. (See entry #1, Batman.)

P.S. Melanie's blog offers both unsolicited parenting advice and interviews with indie bookstore owners! What could be better? /E

Book Divas Discussion Board

Perhaps everyone but me already knows about the Book Divas discussion boards, but I think not. They are totally underused. But they shouldn't be. They are extremely cool. Because it's not just book discussions -- they have "guest" authors on to answer your questions.

For example, here's who was there recently:

Simon Cheshire (Kissing Vanessa )
Ann Brashares (Traveling Pants)
Jennifer Anne Kogler (Ruby Tuesday)
Cecil Castelluci (Boy Proof)
Marcus Zusak (I am the Messenger)
Robynn Clairday (Confessions of a Boyfriend Stealer) is there RIGHT NOW through Sept 26

They all answer whatever questions people pose, over the course of like two weeks! It is so cool. Even though they haven't invited me.
So go on over there and ask Clairday your questions.

How I Paid for College, by Marc Acito

Click here for a four-minute movie of my new favorite book, How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theater, by Marc Acito. You need something faster than a dial-up connection to see it.

The book is definitely R-rated in terms of sex, just so ya know. It is also most excellent. Especially if you know all the words to Godspell, Grease and Pippin. Which I do, except for Pippin. It's about drama-mad teenagers in Jersey in the 1980s.

Just out in paperback. Less than ten dollars, people.

Natalie R. Collins's Boyfriend List

UnknownNatalie R. Collins, who is on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit with me, wrote Wives and Sisters, which is just out in paperback.

For any of you who followed the cases of Elizabeth Smart and Lori Hacking, this is the book for you: a thriller set in Mormon country, about a woman whose father tyrannizes and torments her as the self-appointed messenger of God. When a brutal attack makes her desperate to escape Mormon bonds, Allison finds herself on a collision course with community leaders as they cover up the steps of a sexual predator. (You can tell this book has adult content, right?)

Kirkus Reviews called Wives and Sisters "“a white-knuckles ride all the way. Expert depiction of a young woman's struggle with the oppressive 'family values' of one kind of fundamentalism."

The backstory of how Natalie came to write this book is here, on M.J. Rose's Backstory site, and it's really interesting and terrifying, too. She talks about her separation from the Mormon church and the scary crime attempt she survived to write about.

Meanwhile, Natalie wrote us a boyfriend list, in which she brings up that oh-so-fascinating question of love and religious affiliation.

Boyfriend List—Good Girl Dates Bad Boys
by Natalie R. Collins

Stan O.
Stan was the popular boy, the football player, the “it man.” I really thought I was in love. My heart broke when he asked someone else to prom. Especially after he asked me to “hang out” that night when his girl of choice turned him down. I wasn’t worth the cost, I guess.

He’s the boyfriend-who-won’t-go-away-but-was-never-really-a-boyfriend. We danced around each other for years. Met at the local amusement park, where we both worked. I still run into him. He’s still hot. He’s a cop. Something about those guys with guns. My first GENTILE (non-Mormon) boyfriend. Moving on.

I can’t really remember his last name. Good thing I’m not putting last names. He was a band geek, a military brat, a bad boy, my second GENTILE (non-Mormon) boyfriend. I was just getting started. At this point, my parents started to worry. Lucky for them, of course, he moved away. Military brats do that. Their luck was short-lived.

Oh dear, another Gentile living in the land of Mormons. I’m not sure if he found me, or I found him. And how did I find all these non-Mormons in Mormonville? Kev and I weren’t a good match. He was a redhead with a rather explosive temper. I still wonder where he ended up. Maybe jail.

Well, well, lookee here. FINALLY a nice Mormon boyfriend. Nice too look at, too. Too bad he was b-o-r-i-n-g. Moving on.

I’m not putting his last name, but as you might have guessed, my bad boy Gentile streak was continuing. Pepper was my entrance into the real world. He was an Italian Catholic who found his way to Utah to ski. He never left. He should have. The women of Utah would have been safer.

Why, oh why, was I attracted to these bad boys? Tim was a recovering alcoholic I thought I could save. He’s a beautiful man, inside and out (hot, hot, hot) but just doesn’t know it. Probably never will. And back 20 years ago, I thought I could save him. He’s an incredibly talented artist and he’s also very stupid. Like most men (if I say all men, which I really mean, I will have torrents of hatemail, which I don’t need.). Like most men, Tim has been lured by the dark side of the evil voodoo woman. The one who is gorgeous, and vain, and ruled by some other moral code we don’t understand.

Younger man, irresponsible, Momma’s boy. Waste of time.

Difficult, high strung, temperamental, father of my two kids. Good most of the time. We’re still together.

Which Muppet Are You?

chef jpeg
You are the the Swedish Chef.
You are a talented individual, nobody understands
you. Perhaps it's because you talk funny.

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Andrew Auseon, author of Funny Little Monkey, pointed me to this quiz. It is very amusing to take. And he promises it is the BEST muppet quiz out there.

I am so happy to be the Swedish chef! I love him.
Although truth be told, I identify most with Beaker. But the answers leading to Beaker were extremely obvious. Just "don't hurt me" as the response to every single question.
hee hee