Reading Blitz

Those of you that know me know that a few years ago my health started to take a downturn. It's much better now, but still a little shakey - and Reno hasn't helped. Although I thought I was doing ok, the wine and champagne and coffee I had on Thursday led to massive dehydration on Friday. So, instead of killing myself at the conference, I tucked myself into bed and started to read the ARCs I'd picked up on the convention floor.

Wow. I have to say, this was one great group of reads. Usually, it's a crapshoot, but for some reason, these four books really worked for me. Ok, one was weaker than the rest, but still!

What did I read?

Big Fat Manifesto, by Susan Vaught. A HS senior, 300+ lbs, has to deal with not just the Senior Deadlines, but acting in a play and creating a column "Fat Girl" for the school newspaper. Then her Big Beautiful Boyfriend decides to get bariatric surgery, and her world starts to change. I'm not 300+, but I could definitely relate to the whole Fat Girl dilemma.

Pandora Gets Jealous, by Carolyn Hennesy. We all know how much I enjoy the Percy Jackson series. This is definitely in that category, and I predict will be a huge hit with my students. Yours, too.

Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy, by Diane Stanley. A goodish mix of The Mysterious Benedict Society meets The Wright 3, with some Stepford Stuff thrown in. Middle Schoolers will love it.

Life on the Refrigerator Door, by Alice Kuipers. This was the weakest of the four, probably because it seems contrived. The entire book is a series of notes left on the refrigerator door, notes between Claire and her mother. There's a lot going on "off stage" and some of it is pretty heavy, while some (the boyfriend issues) is just alluded to but never really resolved. I'm never sure how I feel about device-driven books (like TTYL), so I'm on the fence about this. I also wasn't happy with the cover design, which looked too much like Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but then, I wasn't happy when five of the MS-level books we got in over the summer clearly had the same girl model on them. I know certain designs and motifs are popular, but it doesn't help a book stand out in the punters minds!

So, there you have it. Current reading in a nutshell. And now, back to the conference!


Carrie said...

AHHH!! I'm SO WITH YOU on book covers that look the same. I've been noticing that more and more lately and I find it annoying and will avoid a book just for that reason! I wish they'd stop.

Good "notes" on that particular book. Thanks for the review.

Lazygal said...

After posting this, I stopped by another publisher's booth and picked up some other ARCs. I mentioned that I'd read Pandora and Notes. The saleswoman(?? boothbabe sounds wrong!) asked what I'd thought and I said I was a bit on the fence about Notes because of the contrivance and because it just seemed... wrong some how. She said she thought that Child Services should have been called at some point. Read and see if you agree.