Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life intervenes!

So, basically, I'm a library baby. No, I wasn't really born in the library (though wouldn't that be a conversation starter?) but DANG, it seems as if I was practically raised in one. All those trips to bookstores, swanky Children's Library memberships to the transition to actual, honest-to-goodness libraries; DANG, I was pretty much surrounded by books my whole life.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I've maxed out my library card (A.K.A. I have 50 materials out).


And since I'm such a glutton for punishment, I still haunt my local library, on the hunt for a nice, delicious read once I'm done all those books (if that's even possible considering the time constraints). Ah well, it's always nice to be optimistic.

And considering that my local library is part of the largest library system in North America (A.K.A. millions of materials in circulation), it shouldn't come as a surprise that I found some intriguing books.

So in the meantime, as I read voraciously and as nonstop as I can make it, I've decided to store my finds in this little pocket of cyberspace I have right here just to keep track. So I have something to come back to.

Here are three of those potential reads:

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out -- doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather.

When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T -- and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize -- Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare....

Oh my, seriously, this sounds absolutely sweet and I can totally relate to being a shrinking violet myself. Man, this sounds so Cinderella-like but at the same time rooted in reality. I mean, she has to deal with the consequences eventually... must read this book!

Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher

Review from School Library Journal:
Leon Sanders, 17, a self-described geek, craves the attention of perfection-personified Amy Green, who consistently ignores him. Resigned to life on the fringes of his suburban high school, he takes comfort in knowing that another junior scores zero for popularity: Melody Hennon, whose severely burned face has made her an outcast.

When Leon tells Melody a bad joke and gets a genuine laugh, he is surprised to find an actual person behind the scars, and soon discovers that she shares his interests and offbeat humor. When Melody confides the details of her childhood accident, he tells her about a humiliating encounter with a bully that left him emotionally scarred. As their friendship turns to romance, Leon worries about the opinions of others, but people are accepting of their relationship. Then Leon finally catches Amy's eye. Faced with a dilemma, he allows himself to be lured away from the devastated Melody, but is soon overwhelmed by the emotional consequences.

Leon's self-deprecating, ironic humor keeps an authentic edge running through the story as he explores new relationships and roles, and wrestles with doing the right thing. Melody is a resilient young woman whose experience with Leon helps her develop self-confidence. This is a strong debut novel with a cast of quirky, multidimensional characters struggling with issues of acceptance, sexuality, identity, and self-worth.

This one sounds like a true contemporary teen novel: realistic, and poignant shot through with humour and bittersweet revelations. Body image and the problems teens face in an image-obsessed society (ex. eating disorders, obesity) do get some treatment in young adult fiction but I haven't come across one about facial disfigurement in a while. The last one I read was Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher two years ago (which is a powerful, important read by the way). There's also Firegirl by Tony Abbott, which is listed as children's fiction but can still hold sway for an older audience; same reaction as SFSB. So I'm happy that I've come across another teen-flavoured book with this kind of topic.

Can't wait to pick this one up, definitely!

Last but not least, Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner and Richard Ewing.

SHAKESPEARE SHAPIRO HAS ALWAYS hated his name. His parents bestowed it on him as some kind of sick joke when he was born, and his life has gone downhill from there, one embarrassing incident after another. Entering his senior year of high school, Shakespeare has never had a girlfriend, his younger brother is cooler than he is, and his best friend's favorite topic of conversation is his bowel movements. But Shakespeare will have the last laugh. He is chronicling every mortifying detail in his memoir, the writing project each senior at Shakespeare's high school must complete. And he is doing it brilliantly. And, just maybe, a prize-winning memoir will bring him respect, admiration, and a girlfriend . . . or at least a prom date.

Now this one seems like a nice, laugh-out-loud funny kind of book--definitely what I'll need after a good dose of angst. I've read the reviews and most of them mention the whole bawdiness of this particular bildungsroman so I have pretty high expectations for this one! Hopefully it delivers because the premise is just wacky and has a high potential for hilarity.

Phew, that was a lot of rambling. If you've survived this far, then you must be some glutton for punishment yourself! If not, and you're just here to see what all the fuss is about, then I'm sorry to disappoint you but there was a whole lotta fuss for a small amount of nuggets. :D So I'll make this even quicker: I might make this a blog feature (is that a big deal or not?). I'm fairly new to blogging but I'm pretty sure I'm going to consistently max out my library card so expect this to be fairly regular (and fairly lengthy).

Anyways, I'm off for some reading. Such lovely companions, these novels be!