Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian (Review)

Same Difference
Siobhan Vivian. Scholastic Inc, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-545-00407-7

Emily Thompson is getting out of her South Jersey suburb to take art classes at a pre-college summer program in Philly. Detaching herself from her best friend Meg is not easy, especially when Emily has difficulty making friends at art school because she's more J.Crew than vintage. But as Emily's confidence grows in part because of her friendship with the fearless Fiona, and Meg's relationship with her boyfriend deepens, the girls naturally distance themselves from each other. Emily revels in her new persona; crashing art gallery openings and flirting with the teaching assistant. Yet having new friends does not mean giving up the loyal ones left behind, and Emily eventually realizes that not everyone is who they pretend to be. Vivian's talent is that she writes about very realistic and relatable teen experiences without being cliche. Teen girls in particular will be able to see themselves in this novel. Whether they identify with the attention-seeking Fiona or the slightly introverted Emily; they will no doubt find company in their own struggles with friendship, love, and self-expression. Vivian (A Little Friendly Advice) writes with intriguing insight, reliving those stressful and often confusing moments of adolescence where everything mattered so much.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kim's Audio Book Pic o' the week -- Little Brother

Marcus, a 17-year-old techno hacker from San Fransisco, cuts class to play Harajuku Fun Madness with his best friends. Unfortunately, he and his buds are in the wrong part of town when terrorists attack the city. Trying to escape the massive swarms of people fleeing underground, Marcus and his friends flag down help only to be arrested by the Department of Homeland Security. Imprisoned and interrogated for days, Marcus, Vanessa and JoLu are eventually released while Marcus' best friend Darryl remains inside. Enraged over his ordeal, Marcus distributes "Paranoid Linux" for XBox that offers invisible and private Internet to all his friends. Using the Xnet, Marcus and city teens struggle to take back their privacy and freedom while bringing down the DHS. Yet in doing so, Marcus also has to claim responsibility for the rebellion he has incited and seek help from those adults he trusts.

Doctorow's novel is incredibly smart and scary. Marcus narrates more than a story; he explains technology in succinct terms and explores how easy it is to exploit and evade security systems. This book is embedded with technological knowledge and information that makes it seem so easy to transform your ipod into a super-sleuthing spy gadget. Or something like that. This book does nothing but make you think, rethink, and freak out about everything your government is doing behind your back. Intense, this novel should accompany Orwell's 1984 on that stand-by summer reading list.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I met Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi!

I was so lucky that my co-worker was looking out for me. She saw a small advertisement in the Record about the two authors doing a book signing at Book World in West Caldwell, NJ on Tuesday, September 16th. So I raced there after work to get in line. I had an anxious stomach all day thinking of monstrous lines. But I was #5 in line. I have never been more excited to meet someone since I waited 8 hours on line to meet Tori Amos at her book signing of Piece by Piece. [Stupid me didn't bring a camera!] Yesterday totally made my season!

HB and TD are cool, funny, down-to-earth and extremely generous, making sure to sign everything that people gave them. Holly read a chapter from Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles 2 while Tony drew pictures and gave them to the kids. Then they graciously answered questions from the crowd of mostly elementary school kids. I felt totally blessed to be able to meet them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Midnight Sun-down

Because of its illegal availability, Meyer has posted the link to Midnight Sun on her website, allowing fans to view the draft guilt-free. Because of the unfortunate incident, Meyer put the project on hold indefinitely.

Meyer's books have excited such passion for teen lit. There are adults reading YA for the first time, scratching at that vamp itch. Personally, I am bummed that there will be no Midnight Sun in the foreseeable future. And perhaps all of us zealous vamp fans are to blame in downloading the damn thing. It just shows how invested we are in the lives of characters; made-up people we think of as real, as our own. You want evidence? Check out; it has over 36,000 entries for Twilight alone! Think of how much time is wasted by readers desperate to continue the lives of its beloved characters.

Come on Stephenie. Finish Midnight Sun.