Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Link us if you hopped here!
Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?
I normally just say something like "5 Stars", "4 Stars" etc. after the review. I wanted to use a visual but haven't used one just yet!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Kaitlyn Fairchild has always felt like an outsider in her small hometown. Her haunting eyes
and prophetic drawings have earned her a reputation as a witch. But Kait's not a witch: She's a psychic. Tired of being shunned, Kait accepts an invitation to attend the Zetes Institute, where she can have a fresh start and study with other psychic teens.
Learning to hone her abilities with four other gifted students, Kait discovers the intensity of her power -- and the joy of having true friends. But those friendships quickly become complicated when Kait finds herself torn between two irresistible guys. Rob is kind and athletic, and heals people with his good energy. Gabriel is aggressive and mysterious, a telepath concealing his true nature as a psychic vampire, feeding off of others' life energy. Together, Rob and Gabriel's opposing forces threaten the group's stability.
Then one of the experiments traps the five teens in a psychic link. A link that threatens their sanity and their lives. And Kaitlyn must decide whom to trust...and whom to love.
Kaitlyn doesn't really have any friends because of her strangeness (psychic drawings, etc.), she feels left out and alone in the beginning of the book and she has to help her father a lot since her mother died. When Joyce comes to her school and she discovers that she is psychic, she goes to the Institute where she meets other teenagers that have powers like hers. I really enjoyed reading this first book of the series and I'm continuing to read the other books. There were a lot of parts of the story where there was a lot of suspense and I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for what would happen. I've loved all of Smith's books, they've always been well written and added a new twist to things.
There were a few slow parts where I wasn't that interested in reading it but once I got through those, it was a very good book. Loved it and I would suggest that you check this one out!
My Rating: (4 stars)
Friday, August 20, 2010
Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) drew heavily on my experiences growing up as one of a very few Asian-Americans in my high school. I wanted to write a love letter to kids who straddle multiple cultures—whether racial or socioeconomic.
The inspiration for North of Beautiful came through a chance conversation. I had just finished speaking at a middle school and I recognized one of the boys there. He was Mr. Cool on campus: athletic, good-looking, witty. And he has a portwine stain on his face. A couple of days later, I bumped into his mom and I was telling her what a great job she had done parenting him because he didn’t let his birthmark get in his way. She looked at me and said, “That’s because he’s a boy.” That got me thinking: what would it be like for a girl to be under constant scrutiny? What if she had a father who put a premium on physical perfection and her birthmark was a personal affront to him? With Terra, I was able to tackle the whole notion of beauty, a topic that’s been at the forefront of my mind as a mother, woman, and writer! When did size 00 become the figure we are all supposed to attain?
I loved that there was a red line in Nothing But The Truth about Taiwan, which I found truly original because as far as I know aren't any YA novels about. How much of you is in the character of Patty Ho?
It was easy to get into Patty’s head because in many ways, it’s my head! So many things make me uncomfortable—feeling uncomfortable and not quite fitting in, for one. I went to Stanford for my undergraduate degree and for a summer camp—politics and government, not math!
In North of Beautiful, Terra has a very controlling dad and a mom who is suffering his grills, how did the idea for their characters started?
Writing any scene with Terra’s father was really difficult for me emotionally. I’ve been around too many controlling men. One of my teen readers was the impetus for tackling a story with an emotionally abusive relationship. She approached me after one of my readings and commiserated about how she, too, had been afraid of going after her dreams. Instead of a professor mocking me, it was her father who belittled her ambitions. I knew I had to write this story for girls who have been knocked down by Those Who Think They Know Better (but don’t).
Could you tell us about your path to publication? Any sprints or stumbles along the way?
I’ve been writing for teens ever since I was 8 years old and wrote my 50-page epic novel about Kitty and Dot. After a professor at Stanford told me that I couldn’t write, I put away my dreams of being an author. Sad, but true how demoralizing one person’s opinion can be. After I had my kids, I realized that it was shameful to allow one person to derail my dream! So I took a children’s writing course at the University of Washington Extension Program and on my last day of class, I sold my picture book, THE PATCH. My first two novels—NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (AND A FEW WHITE LIES) and GIRL OVERBOARD—were sold at auction not too long after. (So there to naysayers!)
If you could have dinner with a book character, who would it be and why?
OH, I would have dinner with Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia for sure. I have the biggest book crush on him—because he’s a wonderfully complicated character. Mischievous yet deadly serious in intent.
What did you read as a teen? Which authors inspired you the most? And which are your favorite books and authors now?
I read a ton as a teen—but unfortunately, there weren’t as many YA novels back then. I’m so glad teens today have such a wide range of amazing fiction to choose from.
I loved to read that you use your writing also for philantropy. Can you tell some more about this and what readers can do?
I tie every book I publish to some kind of philanthropic effort. In our world, we need more than words; we need action! My biggest philanthropic effort is readergirlz, the world’s leading online book community for teen girls—run completely by volunteers! The divas are all YA authors—Lorie Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, Holly Cupala, Melissa Walker, Liz Gallagher, Micol Ostrow, and myself. On one hand, we are a literacy group and have been recognized for our different programs that encourage teens to read. But we are also about building exceptional girls! Getting teens to gain their own power through reading books that feature strong girls.
What are you working on now, can we expect new books by you soon?
I’m currently writing another contemporary YA novel, entitled RETURN TO ME. It’s expected out in Spring 2012. And that’ll be followed by another contemporary, title TBD. J