100 Words: Kissing Kate

Kissing Kate

Kate and Lissa are best friends. When a tipsy Kate kisses her at a party, Lissa is suddenly alone and confused. Kissing Kate meant something to Lissa; why is Kate pretending nothing happen?

Short but never simple, Lissa’s story is mirrored everywhere: her little sister trying to impress a mean “friend”, her boss’s sudden break-up and soul-searching, and even Lissa sees how opposite new friend Ariel’s openness is to Kate’s “what will people think?” attitude.

We often feel strongly for people who are toxic for us. Lissa’s reminds us: let no one make you feel badly about being yourself.

Author: Lauren Myracle
Publishing info: April 19th 2007 by Speak – ISBN 978-0142408698
Age Range: Themes of independence and curiosity about sexuality (homosexuality, bisexuality), light alcohol use, and only a few but prominent instances of strong language. 13+ on age, though YMMV, so give it a read before you hand it to a middle schooler. (p.s. How adorable is that candy heart cover?)
Olivia’s Rating: 3 out of 5 smiley pumpkins

Warning: ‘Intermittence’ Shall Continue

A quick heads up to those of you following along at home: I will likely be intermittently posting Today in YA History posts and any 100 Words reviews I have. September was a full month for me and October will be EVEN more-so what with the haunt park kicking into overdrive and opening next weekend. If I am late on TIYAH, if I only have a few 100 Words reviews, that is the reason why.

I’m planning on back-dating my TIYAH posts and trying to catch up, by the way, as I missed a few when I was off in New Orleans for my first ever vacation. I am not a “pics or it didn’t happen” kind of girl, so I did not bring a camera to capture and detail my exploits–I just enjoyed the weekend instead! :D I’ll probably include in future writing some of what was sincerely an experience like none I’ve ever had before. The revelry went well into the night, past when we went to bed at 4a.m…. I can’t imagine what it’s like during Mardi Gras!

If you have the chance to visit New Orleans/Nawlins/NOLA, and you aren’t offended easily by alcohol in the streets and the most persistent strippers known to man, I would highly recommend checking out the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. And while you’re at, swing over to Cafe du Monde for some beignets. ZOMG DELICIOUS! People say it’s cliché: I say it’s a tasty, tasty cliché!

And that’s it from me for now! Hope you’re doing well!

Today in YA History: September 14, 2008 – ‘The Hunger Games’ published!

September 14, 2008: Scholastic publishes the first in Suzanne Collin’s “The Hunger Games” series. The Games are a televised event where the teenagers must fight to the death until only one remains.

From BN.com:

    In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she volunteers to take her sister’s place to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

According to Wikipedia, “The Hunger Games has an initial print of 200,000, which doubled from the original 50,000. Since its initial release, the novel has been translated into 26 different languages and rights have been sold in 38 countries.”

The Hunger Games and its sequels are so insanely popular right now, there’s even an upcoming film directed by Gary Ross scheduled to be released on March 23, 2012. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.

Get your read on at your local Independent bookstore!

Today in YA History: September 12, 2007 – ‘Part-Time Indian’ published!

September 12, 2007: “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie is published with Little, Brown.

Alexie’s first novel for young adults, Part-Time Indian won the National Book Award in 2007 for “Young People’s Literature” and was also listed as one of “SLJ’s Best Books of 2007.” In 2010, it won the California Young Reader Medal.

From BN.com:

    “[Junior is] a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the “rez” to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. [C]oupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, Part-Time Indian chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.”

This book is semi-autobiographical, as Alexie and Arnold share several traits, including that they both lived on the same Indian Reservation and left to attend Reardan High School, where they each knew they he would receive a better education.

Don’t miss out! Grab a copy at your local Independent bookstore!

Today in YA History: September 11, 1948 – ‘Johnny Tremain’ published!

September 11, 1948: Houghton Mifflin publishes Johnny Tremain. This classic novel by Esther Forbes set in Boston prior to and during the outbreak of the American Revolution.

This 1944 Newbery Medal winning historical fiction novel “for young and adult” follows 14-year-old Johnny as he interacts with some of history’s notables during the birth of American Revolution and some of the battlefields of that war. It is a popular novel to assign to students, and (in 2000) was listed as the 16th bestselling children’s book. Not bad, Johnny!

From Wikipedia:

    “The story begins in the Boston,… where protagonist Johnny Tremain is a promising young apprentice to silversmith Mr. Lapham. While preparing an order for prominent merchant John Hancock, Johnny’s hand is badly burned through the trickery of another apprentice. With only one good hand, Johnny can no longer be a silversmith and is forced to find a living elsewhere.

    After a series of unfortunate false starts, Johnny settles into a job with the Boston Observer newspaper, a Whig publication. There, Johnny is introduced to the larger world of pre-revolutionary Boston politic through the tension between Whigs and Tories. Johnny resolves to become a dedicated Whig himself.”

The story was made into a film of the same name by Walt Disney in 1957, starring Hal Stalmaster as Johnny Tremain and Luana Patten as Priscilla Lapham.

From Olivia: It’s strange, but this book is listed as a 1944 novel, so I have to assume that’s when she wrote it, and it did not receive full publication until 1948.

I read this novel in elementary school, and while I would love to give it a chance again now that I’m older and can probably better appreciate the story (plus… I’ve since developed an actual love of history), this story is one I remember for very strange reasons. As a child, I was horrified of the idea that someone might be named Dorcas and that other girls would find that a prettier name than Priscilla, to start. But more importantly, this was when I learned about double-entendres and actually understood them. The Doctor asked if Johnny’s crippled hand was “the will of God”; since Johnny had been breaking the rule to keep Sunday’s holy and not work them, he FELT it was God’s will and so said yes, when the Doctor meant if Johnny had been born with the crippled hand. It’s random, it’s obscure, but hey! It works for me. :)

Give this old classic a read yourself or buy it for the young people in your life who might enjoy a dose of American history at your local Independent bookstore!