Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When I Was Joe by Keren David

Author: Keren David
Release: September, 2010
Pages: 364
Source: Publicist
My {spoiler-free} Summary:
Joe is popular. Joe is an amazing runner. Joe has got everything going for him. Too bad Joe isn't a real person.

Fourteen-year-old Ty witnesses a murder, and does what he thinks is the right thing: tells the police. But now dangerous people are after him and will stop at nothing to keep him from testifying in court, even if it means killing him and anyone who gets in the way.

Now Ty's stuck entering the witness protection program with his mother, Nicki. Ty is gone, and his new identity is Joe. Despite the drastic changes, he's enjoying his new life, especially when he meets a sweet girl who has dark secrets too. But his mom is struggling day to day and can barely keep herself together. Not to mention that any second they could be found, and really be in danger.

Secrets, lies, and danger lurking in every corner....The mysteries all unravel one page at a time in this addictive debut. 
Review: Simply stunning in it's ability to keep a reader dangling with anticipation on every page, When I Was Joe doesn't fail to surprise and end with a bang.

Ty/Joe has a unique voice that truly drew me in, made me laugh, as well as really care for him. His life is just turned upside down because of what he's seen, and it's easy to sympathize with him. The complexities of his new life and the people in it kept me curious about what could possibly happen next. Ty's really going through a coming-of-age time in his life, struggling with his morals and his secrets. The contrast between who Ty was and who he is becoming is intriguing to follow. Even when Ty is screwing up, I'm still rooting for him. The other characters are all dynamic as well, but I would have love more of Claire.

Keren David knows just how to keep a reader hooked, because at the end of every chapter I wanted to keep going. There's action, thrilling edge-of-your-seat moments, social issues, the bonds a family has, and a some budding friendships. This book made me laugh, gasp, happy, upset, angry, and in the end I wanted so much more.

Highlights: David makes Ty/Joe a very authentic character, and he's very easy to sympathize with. I think the biggest compliment I can pay David besides the previous sentence is that she genuinely surprised me. I thought I had everything all figured out, and she shocked me towards the end. I loved the cultural aspect too, because this book is definitely full of British slang and societal problems that I just didn't know about. It was a nice change to jump into something real, problematic, unique and different.

Lowlights: The pacing of the story starts slow, but it almost seems necessary for the storyline to work.



Monday, September 27, 2010

Interview: Keren David

Quick! Describe When I Was Joe in 7 words or less!
Ty witnesses murder, gets cool new identity. 

Awesome answer! What inspired you to write When I Was Joe?
I got the idea of writing about witness protection from an item on the news. It's still an unusual thing in the UK, not like the US. Then there was a terrible spate of knife crime in London, teenagers being killed by their peers. It all worked its way into the book.

What was the most difficult part when writing?
At first I was daunted by the idea of thinking as a 14-year-old boy. I only knew one teenage boy -  my nephew -  and he wasn't anything like Ty. But gradually that became easier, to the point where I almost felt as though I had a teenage boy in my head somewhere.

Fill in the blank: "I couldn't have written When I Was Joe without_______"
The evening class I attended at City University in Writing for Children. Inspiration, feedback, guidance and encouragement from a great tutor (writer Amanda Swift) and fellow students. The best £140 I ever spent.

What's one thing you hope readers take away with them after finishing this novel?
I hope it'll make them think about crime and punishment and what it's like being a teenage boy.

Sequel to WIWJ, out now in UK
Releases in April for USA
Anything else you'd like to add?
It's a very British book, full of very British words. To help American readers understand words like tossers and naff, I've made a glossary on my blog, which you can find here . It may be incomplete -  if there's any words which baffle you, just let me know and I'll translate!

I was so glad Keren had such a fabulous glossary on her site, it was so fun (and helpful) to read all the different slang and meanings :)

Thanks for stopping by and answering my questions, Keren! When I Was Joe is out now in the United States, so go find a copy, because this book is amazing! Don't believe me? Check out all these glowing reviews on the UK Amazon website


Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder
Kimberly Derting
Pages: 336 (hardcover)
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN-13: 978-0061779817
Source: Won from Raila, and bought a copy
My Summary:
Violet Ambrose can see and hear echoes of the dead. Ever since she was a child, she's always been drawn to animals that have been killed...and even humans that have been killed.

When a serial killer starts to prey on innocent girls in town, Violet knows that she's the only one who will be able to spot the killer, and the echoes of his victims that cling to him. Except Jay, Violet's best friend, isn't too keen on letting Violet run around looking for a killer. To complicate things more, Violet's starting to feel something more for Jay, especially when the other girls in her town start flocking to him like bees to honey.

The more Violet digs and searches, the closer she gets to discovering the killer...maybe even too close for her own good.
Dear Kimberly Derting: You totally rock as an author (and a person, I'm sure), and The Body Finder is incredible. Very spectacular. Or any other praise-worthy word you prefer.

The relationships in this book are wonderful. I definitely want to see more relationships like these in YA novels. Violet's family actually cares about her, acts like a family, and are present throughout the story (something that is definitely not always the case in YA novels). Violet's friendship with Jay is realistic and sweet. None of the characters seemed cliché, and Violet's unique and unusual ability was artfully woven into the story in such a normal way that it didn't seem weird or impossible for her to have this skill.

The suspense builds slowly, and the mystery kept me curious about what would happen next. Violet's gift has to be the most intriguing part, because it is nothing like what I've read before. In the end, I really want to get my hands on the sequel, Desires of the Dead. If it's anything like its predecessor, it's going to be amazing.

Highlights: The passages narrated by the killer were definitely amazingly eerie. I think that had to be my favorite part, because I wasn't really expecting it. And okay, the cover is totally wonderful too. It just seems to work perfectly with the story. The realistic characters and interactions between them, of course, were a huge plus.

Lowlights: I saw the ending coming, but that didn't bother me too much. It would have been awesome too, if there was just a bit more suspense, a bit more mystery, and a bit more of the killer's perspective because that was definitely interesting.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Friday, September 24, 2010

Fins Are Forever Cover Revealed

As a Splash Team member, I get to finally share this gorgeous cover for Tera Lynn Childs sequel to Forgive My Fins:

Isn't it gorgeous? And the cover for Fins Are Forever (out June 28th, 2011) definitely goes perfectly with the first book:



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Book: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
Release: February 22nd, 2011
Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

I love the summary for this one, it doesn't sound like anything I've read before...and that cover? Very intriguing, kind of foreboding....


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nightshade Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

Quick! Describe Nightshade in 7 words or less!

Secrets reveal two paths: love or destiny.

Okay, how about a bit more description?

Nightshade is the story of Calla Tor - on her upcoming eighteenth birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves who have fought for centuries on the front lines of the Witches’ War. But her predestined path veers off course when she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a human boy. Startled by her own violation of the law she’s sworn to uphold, she hopes the stranger will soon be a distant memory. When the boy turns out to be a new student in her school, Calla’s random act of kindness spirals into a whirlwind of deceit, hidden histories, and forbidden love.

What makes your main character, Calla, unique?

Nightshade is Calla's story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged, it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament. Calla stands out as a heroine because she’s a leader, she’s independent and she fights for what she loves rather than being swept up in events.

If you could trade places with Calla for a day (and have her abilities), what would you do?

I would spend the day running through forests and getting to know the other wolves.

Fill in the blank: "I could not have written Nightshade without...

The inspiration of a childhood spent exploring forests and the love of my family."

So really, who would you pick: Ren or Shay?

This is something I will never reveal. I’m Team Calla – it’s her choice, not mine.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks so much for sharing Calla’s journey with me!

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Andrea! :)

Onto the giveaway, I have one ARC copy of Nightshade up for grabs, courtesy of Penguin. It's US only, no PO boxes. 

ENDS September 30th!!!

And be sure to stop by And Anything Bookish tomorrow for the next stop on the Teen {Book} Scene's Nightshade Blog Tour!