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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

My rank: 9/10
Publisher: Push
Publication: October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-16911-0
Page Count: 304 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Red Balloon Bookstore

Summary from author's website:

Annaleah and Brian had something special—Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn’t need anyone else. It didn’t matter that it was secret. All that mattered was what they shared.
And then, suddenly, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living on the outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss no one will let you have?

- - -

Whenever I read a love story, usually the book begins with the character's meeting or parting (and from then they solve the conflict and get back together). In You Are Not Here, Schutz took a different approach of Annaleah's story.

Brian and Annaleah hooked up a couple of times, but they weren't official. Neither Brian's friends or Annaleah's know each other, and they always hung out in secret. Annaleah lost her virginity to Brian, so it's natural for Annaleah to grieve when Brian died...except for the fact that Brian's family doesn't know about Annaleah.

In You Are Not Here, Schutz wrote about how Annaleah cope with Brian's death and not having anyone to talk to. Annaleah's mind is growing--and this book is filled with philosophical thoughts that will make the reader turn the pages for more.

- - -
What I like about this book: When I read the summary, I was thrilled to read this book. Then I opened the first page and noticed that it was in verses and not normal paragraphs. I was surprised and I thought about putting it down since I didn't think I would like it--but it worked, and I love it.

What I didn't like about this book: To be honest, the ending was a bit predictable. I would've liked it if Schutz didn't end the book the way it ended.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender + Interview

My rank: 10/10 :D
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication: April 21, 2009
ISBN: 978-1423108764
Page Count: 3522 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Publisher

Get a chance to win this book and its sequel here.

I'm one of those people who are easily surprised, so scary (or 'scary') movies and books were never my thing. Then Bad Girls Don't Die came in the mail and even just by looking at the cover, I know this wasn't the kind of book I'd pick up in a bookstore.

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender is an elegant, spooky story about two sisters--the older is the social outcast and the younger, possessed.

Alexis is the social outcast--she skips school and gets called to the Principal's Office a lot. Kasey has problems--she doesn't have any friends or normal hobbies except taking care of her set of dolls in her room. Also, Kasey will hurt anyone who touches her dolls.

In the beginning of the book, Alexis realizes that there's something weird with Kasey lately. Kasey's...not herself. The shy Kasey suddenly turns out brave and vicious--'hell-bent on murder,' actually. Alexis questions Kasey's new judgment, but Kasey said she only tries to have fun with her nice, new 'friend.'

To stop Kasey from hurting everyone, Alexis bravely investigated and found out the connection of the ghost who possessed Kasey and the antique house they live in. Alexis only has one worry; Kasey's new 'friend' might hurt Alexis before Alexis stops them.

+ + +

So I told Katie Alender about how fascinated I was after reading her book, being someone who doesn't want to even get near scary stories and all.

1. This has probably been the most cliche question ever, but what
inspired you to write Bad Girls Don't Die?

The story came to me as a moment between two sisters, who are isolated
from other kids and from their parents and only have each other to
turn to. They make up stories for each other, and then the younger
sister starts making the stories come to life in a very creepy manner.
The book evolved from there into what it is today!

2. Have you ever stayed, lived or visited a house like Alexis and Kasey's?

Ooh, good question! Not that I can remember. But when I was in Ireland
a few years ago, we stayed in an extremely creepy hotel. It was the
very end of the season and there were only a few rooms rented in the
whole place. So we wandered down these curving, deserted hallways, and
it was SO creepy!

3. Whom are you more similar to; Photography-and-deviant-Alexis or

I think I have a good dose of Alexis in me. Mostly in terms of being a
total smart-aleck! I always have a wisecrack, often when none is
called for. ;-) But there's a piece of Kasey in me, too. To be honest,
there's probably a piece of all my characters in me!

4. I DON'T like dolls/creepy stuff. Even Barbie dolls creeps me out
(and the crazy part is that I used to own one back in elementary). Do
you....have know, passion for dolls? What made you centered Bad
Girls Don't Die with dolls?

No, I definitely don't have a passion for dolls. I liked them when I
was younger, although this past Christmas I went through my old dolls
and realized that most of them are incredibly spooky looking! The main
reason I chose dolls for the book is that they have the potential to
be so scary--not just because of what they are, but because of how we
project on them--little miniature personalities and lives. The funny
thing is, after writing the book, I'm much more freaked out about
dolls, because so many people sent me eerie pictures of them after
reading the book, LOL!

5. I see Carter as the normal savior in this book. He might not have
saved Kasey, but he was the one who kind of kept Alexis sane. What
role did you have in mind for Carter and did you accomplish your goal?

In early drafts, Carter was a bit more tied into solving the mystery,
but later I decided that role was better filled by another character.
Carter to me is kind of a bait for Alexis to grow as a person--a hint
at the sweetness and trust that can come from letting people get to
know you a little, instead of isolating yourself all the time.

6. Is it really weird to have a fan that DOES NOT like mystery/creepy
books, but ended up loving your series?

Well, not to me. Because I don't really love creepy books, and I wrote
the series! To me, at its core, this is a book about a girl--not a
book about ghosts. The ghost is a tool I used as a writer to get the
girl (Alexis) where I wanted her.

7. What's your favorite book of all time and why?

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. It's such a sumptuous world to
lose yourself in--and the characters are so interesting and varied.

8. Thanks! This is the last question! What would you like to say to
anyone who has not read Bad Girls Don't Die?

What are you waiting for? LOL! No, I would say, don't be scared off by
the fact that it's called a horror novel. It's really more of a
thriller, in my opinion. The word "horror" turns a lot of people off
(it would have scared me away, for sure!), but this isn't a book with
lots of gore or anything. Just a few little scares!

Remember, you have a chance to win this book and its sequel (From Bad to Cursed) here!

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