Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sorry for the delay...

Hey strangers!

I just wanted to apologize for the slow-down in activity in September.

I initially had to wait to post anything new for a little bit, because Accio Lit was a school project and it needed to be graded. Then I got busy enjoying my two weeks off from school and felt I needed to take a break from writing constantly and, ya know, actually talk to my husband for more than 5 minutes before I fall into exhausted, grad school mania-induced sleep. And THEN I got an additional library job. Plus some other boring stuff happened that you won't care about. So it's been a busy month for me.

Anyway, I am BACK, though I will not be posting as frequently as I was when I was reading YA for class. I'm going to try to review one book a week. I'm pretty sure I can keep that pace up. So yeah, look out for some new reviews coming very soon. I am in the final pages of Golden Son, the second book in the Red Rising trilogy (zomgcannotwaittotalkaboutit) and I have the new A.S. King (which will be out on Tuesday) on deck for reviewing as well, so STAY TUNED.

Also, in a completely unintentional twist of fate, today is my favorite genius witch Hermione Granger's 36th birthday, so...


I'll have at least one review up by Sunday. See you then!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything
by Sarah Dessen

Hardcover, 417 pages
Published on May 5, 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers (First edition)
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Romance
Awards: Kids' Indie Next List Pick for Teens, Summer

MLA: Dessen, Sarah. Saint Anything. New York: Viking, 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0451474704. Hardcover, $19.99.

Find it in your local library!

When her charismatic older brother Peyton’s delinquent behavior finally catches up to him, Sydney’s family is forced to deal with the fallout of his prison sentence and the consequences of the life he almost took in a drunk driving accident. Just when it feels like her parents will never truly see her from under the shadow of Peyton’s mistakes, Sydney meets the Chatham family, including quirky Layla and kind, handsome Mac, and they give her the acceptance she needs to carve out a life of her own.

Sydney Stanford feels like she’s always lived in her brother Peyton’s shadow. He’s brave and charming, and even when he made some serious mistakes, everything always seemed to go his way. Until one terrible night when it didn’t.

Sydney’s parents also live in Peyton shadow now – her mother doesn’t want to acknowledge that her son is in prison, so she treats him like a victim, and her father seems to go along with it to make life easier. Sydney, however, is not okay with letting go of the misery her brother caused, especially for the young teenager left paralyzed because Peyton got behind the wheel while he was drunk.

When she transfers from her fancy private academy to the local public high school to regain some normalcy, she meets the Chatham family, owners of Seaside Pizza. Quirky Layla Chatham quickly becomes her best friend, and Layla’s gentle, handsome brother Mac catches her eye even though Layla made it clear he’s off limits. But love has a way of finding us when we need it most, and the each of the Chathams help Sydney find her voice in Sarah Dessen’s newest novel, Saint Anything.

Here's the book trailer for Saint Anything:

Teen Talk

“I like realistic teen fiction because of the relatable characters, plus it’s easy to read, and never boring.” -Molly H., 18

These three qualities are what makes Sarah Dessen so enduringly popular among readers! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

This One Summer
by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator)

Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 6, 2014 by First Second Books (First edition)
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Graphic Novel
Awards: Governor General's Literary Award for
               Children's Literature (Illustration), 2014
               Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album, 2015
               Michael L. Printz Honor Book, 2015
               Caldecott Medal Honor Book, 2015

MLA: Tamaki, Mariko (writer) and Tamaki, Jillian (illus.). This One Summer. New York: First Second, 2014. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1596437746. Paperback, $17.99.

Find it in your local library!

Every year since she can remember, Rose and her parents trek to Awago Beach where they spend ten blissful days enjoying the last bright rays of summer sunshine as a family. This year, Rose and her summertime friend Windy find themselves entangled in the local teenagers’ drama as a means of avoiding Rose’s mounting family problems in this beautifully illustrated story about the perilous and thrilling journey from girlhood to grown-up.

The Wallace family’s annual vacation to their cabin on Awago Beach usually means that Rose spends two blissful weeks swimming in the lake, collecting rocks with her parents, and riding bikes with her summer friend Windy. But this year is different.

Just going to the beach and lounging around with her family and Windy doesn’t seem to be enough for Rose anymore. The girls begin to notice the Awago townie teenagers in all their dramatic zeal, and spying on them suddenly becomes their summer mission. Rose and Windy are curious about scary movies and sex, and Rose doesn’t want to admit her crush on store clerk Dunc.

Meanwhile, Rose’s parents – affable Evan and increasingly withdrawn Alice – won’t stop fighting, and as Alice’s depression worsens, Rose is increasingly frustrated and angered by her behavior. Sweet, outgoing Windy, who is a year younger than Rose, occasionally seems a little too immature.

Everything about the summer looks the same but feels different, and as Rose flashes back to the simpler memories of her childhood on Awago Beach, she realizes that things will never be the same after This One Summer.


I don’t even know where to start with this gorgeous graphic novel. Everything about it, from the quietly heartbreaking story to the startlingly accurate tween dialogue to the seriously PERFECT illustrations just made me melt.

Let me begin with my favorite image from This One Summer:

Jillian Tamaki draws such organic and emphatic movement that I feel like these characters are real. The fluid motion of Windy’s dancing just totally filled my heart for some reason. I love Windy. I finished this book thinking, she’s going to be such an awesome grown-up someday. This spread really captures the joy of being young, of dancing to your own tune. I’m in love.

Rose’s best quality, and one of the many reasons she’s such a compelling character, is her curiosity, always making observations. Yes, she is good at being quiet and sneaking around to catch pieces of information. But she also pays such close attention to her surroundings. We could all stand to be a little more attentive to each other.

There’s this moment of realization toward the end of the book that the mothers know pretty much everything that has happened with the girls over the summer vacation, right down Rose’s new crush. It weirdly surprised me. Weirdly, because now that I’m (chronologically) an adult, I should obviously know that parents ALWAYS know what’s going on, even if it doesn’t seem like they are paying attention. But I became so wrapped up in Rose and Windy and watching their experiences unfold from a tween perspective that I was genuinely surprised that the moms knew what they were up to. That’s how well Mariko and Jillian develop this story – I was transported into the girls’ world so deeply that I forgot the realities of the adult world for a moment. And that’s the true gift of This One Summer.

As you can see from the description, This One Summer was nominated for a bunch of awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration, sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts. Here's a video of Jillian Tamaki discussing the book upon winning the award.

I totally agree when she talks about writer and illustrator being "co-creators," in the instance of This One Summer especially. The text is occasionally sparse, allowing the illustrations to tell the story in a way that words just couldn't. When a bowl slips from Alice's frustrated hands and smashes into pieces on the floor, or when Evan carries Rose to the cabin at the beginning of the story, those moments are made so much more powerful because we can see them. Jillian has complete command of our attention through her illustrations, helping us see what moments are most important. Her beautiful art makes me wish I could draw, and I want to hang some of these pictures on my wall.