All tagged Stephanie Perkins
You can find the first part of this conversation over here, and the second right here--we highly recommend listening to them in order. In this episode, we chat about books, but we spend the bulk of our time talking about television and women's representation, and Justin Timberlake and the 50 Shades of Grey movie trailer.
If you've not read Courtney's books, two are now available in a nifty bind-up that will have a Justin Timberlake song frolicking in your head for days, What Goes Around.
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I was so excited to read Stephanie Perkins long-anticipated new novel, which didn't disappoint me in the least (I do think it'll be a love it or hate it story for folks, though--Keertana wrote a fantastic review that resonated with me in terms of why I'm in the love it camp). I was also lucky enough to read a way early copy of Liza Palmer's 2015 novel, Girl Before a Mirror, which is absolutely stellar. I think it'll be a bit polarizing, but in a good way. There are a lot of layers to dig into and I can't wait for it to be in the world so I can talk to people about it!
I also wrapped up reading The Dust Chronicles series by Maureen McGowan, which I really liked (read that series if you liked Divergent, The Darkest Minds or Legend--it's got all the action-y bits that fans of those books will love, and some good social issues things as well). And on the series front, I read the second book in Chuck Wendig's rad YA series, Blightborn.
Enough chat! On to our recommendations!
My list of 20 books (I'm so not getting to all of these--let me know if you've read any of them so I can prioritize) and my comments are below.
Click on the book cover image for more info.
I read two great blog posts this week about the idea of setting.
The first was from the ladies at The Readventurer who put together a fantastic post about settings from books they’d most like to visit. There are some awesome ideas—though most of them terrify me because I am not adept at hand-to-hand combat (or any other combat, if I’m going to keep it real). The second great post about setting was from Molly Backes who wrote a guest post on Stacked about the importance of setting in contemporary young adult fiction.
Both posts got me thinking about setting in books and what works for me and what doesn’t—and why some books have such memorable settings, sometimes even overshadowing the characters and plot. And my conclusion is that when setting is strong and memorable, the place almost serves as a character itself. Think about Dillon, Texas in the Greatest Television Show Ever aka Friday Night Lights. The characters would not be who they are if they didn’t live in Dillon—and when they leave Dillon, they’re transformed too (i.e., Tyra and Jason).
Earlier this year, I went up to Seattle for an event featuring Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman and Nina LaCour. Stephanie said something that’s stuck with me, that (I’m paraphrasing) she thinks about character first, setting second and plot last. As a reader, that’s the order I think about books too. I can’t buy into a plot if the first two don’t work.
I love the world Patricia Briggs created over seven Mercy Thompson books, numerous graphic novels and three books in the spinoff Alpha & Omega series. What strikes me most is that Briggs has taken a very ordinary place and made it quite extraordinary with an eery underworld. When the books shift to Montana for the Alpha & Omega series, the deep cold woods of the region looms large.
Sarah (not our Sarah) is looking for some novels that tell a good coming of age tale.
This is one of our favorite themes, though we were a bit stumped on finding some that are also ’50s, ’60s or ’70s period novels. But it sure was hard to choose just a few to recommend! Sarah filled out our extremely scientific Book Matchmaker Questionnaire and here are her responses:
YA or Adult: Surprise Me
Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Romance
POV/Narrative Style: First Person, Third Person, Multiple POV, Present Tense, Past Tense, Male POV, Main Character or Narrator, Female POV, Main Character or Narrator
Turn-ons/Likes: Easy by Tammara Webber, Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, The Romantics by Galt Nierderhoffer.
Coming of Age is a favorite theme. Also period novels set in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.”
Turnoffs/Dislikes: None that I can think of…
Swoon Factor: 5
Gross Out Factor: 2
Smut Factor: 5
Fluff Factor: 3
My brain is like a water faucet that I can turn on or off. Only now there is no off and the water of thoughts just flows.
Rebeca aka Renegade suggests Francisco X. Stork’s (what a cool name!) YA novel about a 17-year old boy with a mild Autism-like condition who spends his first summer in the “real world” outside his specialized school. There’s a strong theme of self-discovery and the point-of-view is distinctive.
I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.
—The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
Today my super-cute husband (who also knows how to make all sorts of household repairs and use power tools—swoon) and I celebrate our seventh wedding* anniversary. Since I am a big fan of True Love, I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite books about love to commemorate the day.
I just re-read this book (I think I’m going to write about it soon, more a reflection than a review), and it was pure magic the second time around. Anna is an extremely relatable character for me, and Etienne is a flawed character in realistic ways. I love that the relationship between the two grows over the course of an entire school year, as they go from being casual friends, to best friends to something more. Because the book is set in Paris and the teens are more independent than in most YA novels, I totally bought that Anna and Etienne will be together for the long haul. This is a stand out for me for a number of reasons, but I think more than many young adult novels, it’s very adeptly explores the difference between teen infatuation and Big ‘L’ Love and the importance of friendship in successful romantic relationships.
We met Rebeca at the March meeting of Portland’s Forever Young Adult Book Club. (Come hang with us at The Kennedy School on April 21!) Rebeca is a voracious reader, so her request for some new reads is super-tough, because she’s read a lot of books—a lot. She’s in particular need of some books that make her feel good—nothing sad or depressing or violent or where everyone dies in the end.
Here are her responses to our extremely scientific Book Matchmaker Questionnaire.
YA or Adult: Surprise me!
Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Magical Realism
POV & Narrative Style: First Person, Third Person, Multiple POV, Epistolary, Graphic Novel or Graphic Elements, Present Tense, Past Tense, Male POV, Female POV, Unreliable Narrator
Swoon Factor: 5
Gross Out Factor: 4
Smut Factor: 5
Fluff Factor: 5
Favorite Books and/or Themes: “Fairy tales, unexpected moments, books that make me think, clever & smart writing, angst. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite writers and I also love books like Sherry Thomas’ Not Quite a Husband.”
Hated Tropes/Themes: “Please, nothing sad or disturbing and no non-fiction.”
We had to call in some expert advice on this one, since Rebeca has read everything. So our Twitter friend and soon-to-be published author Alanna Blackett (her first novella, Unsecure Connection—which sounds extremely badass is out later this month from Decadent) lent us a hand.