Tag Archives: David Levithan

2010 Year in Review

I completed Ready or Not by Meg Cabot on December 28, 2010. This marked the 78th book I read that year, and I met my goal of reading 78 books! In celebration I will be highlighting some of my favorite–and one least favorite–of 2010.

Favorite Pregnancy Read

Nominees: Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be by Rebecca Eckler and Baby Bargains, 8th Edition: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Gear, Clothes, Toys, Maternity Wear and Much, Much More! by Denise Fields, Alan Fields
Winner: Baby Bargains, 8th Edition by Denise Fields, Alan Fields
Book Cover for Baby Bargains, 8th Edition by Denise Fields & Alan FieldsI judged this category based on which book I felt prepared me the best for my impending motherhood. These two books are very different from each other, which made it difficult to choose a favorite. Knocked Up was an entertaining and realistic tale about the journey of pregnancy; it is a great memoir. Baby Bargains wins the category, however. This book helped me prepare for the new baby the most. As a first time mom, I know nothing about the products available for a newborn. This book was invaluable in helping figure out which items I needed and which I didn’t. I loved how this information was all in one place for easy reference. This is such a great book that I recommend it for all new parents.

Favorite Series

Nominees: Airhead Series by Meg Cabot, Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter, The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins, and Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Winner: Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Cover of Shadowland (Mediator #1) by Meg CabotI didn’t realize how many great book series I read this year until I tried to pick a winner. All four series were full of five-star books. In order to pick my favorite, it came down to one fact: which series was the most consistent throughout. Two of these series–Airhead and Hunger Games–started off strong but the series’ finales left me disappointed. To some extent this also happened with the latest Gallagher Girls book. This was not the case in the Mediator books. Each book had a consistency that I enjoyed. I picked up the first and finished the last within forty-eight hours. The entire time I was interested and engaged in the plot. I enjoyed how Cabot was able to tell Suze’s story over six books while keeping the plot connected and entertaining. Note: While the Mediator series wins this category, all four series are “Must Reads” in my book.

Favorite Goodreads “First-Read”

Nominees: Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler, Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer
Winner: Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer
Lay The Favorite book cover What I like most about Goodreads giveaways is that they give me a chance to read a book I wouldn’t normally pick up. This is true of all ten books I have won. I appreciated all but one of them, with Lay the Favorite being the one I enjoyed the most. The fact that I had nothing in common with the main character, yet still was still entertained by her story, made the book more interesting for me. The book was a real page-turner that had me interested throughout. I never would have purchased this book, but am really glad that Goodreads gave me the opportunity to read it.

Worst Book of 2010

Nominees: Rich Again by Anna Maxted, The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell, The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
Winner: Rich Again by Anna Maxted
Book Cover of Rich Again by Anna Maxted I previously mentioned that I picked up this book solely based on its cover. The bright colors and shopping bags made me believe the story was a typical Chick Lit plot with a bit more conflict. Instead I found a book with a confusing setup, unlikeable characters, and morbid plot. There was not one enjoyable aspect in this story. I have never before been unable to finish a book and was only able to complete this one because I heavily skimmed it. Such a bad book all around.

Favorite Memior

Nominees: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson, My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto by Jen Lancaster, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?: A Mother’s Guide to Sanity in Stilettos by Laura Bennett
Winner: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson
Book Cover of Sliding Into Home by Kendra WilkinsonSo, I have a confession to make. I have a small obsession with all things related to the original Girls Next Door; Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson, and Bridget Marquardt. I was very excited when I heard that Wilkinson was going to be releasing a memoir. I figured this book would give me a little extra insight into what went on behind the scenes of the TV show. I was also interested in learning a bit more about what Wilkinson’s life was life before her time at the mansion and what brought her there. Apparently I wasn’t the only one interested, as it was impossible for me to get my hands on a copy of the book until a week after it had been released! Once I was able to start reading, I found myself enjoying the pace and flow of the story. Her truthful tale was the perfect mix of history and humor that defines her. This book may not be on the same level as some of the other five-star books I read this year, but it served as a needed escape. It was the perfect way to get some “guilty pleasure” time in and getaway from the insanity that can be real life.

Favorite Chick Lit Novel

Nominees: Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick, The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes, Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
Winner: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
The cover of Emily Giffin's now book "Heart of the Matter"Most of the Chick Lit stories I read in previous years were fun and flighty. They involved a single girl shopping her way around town while looking for the right guy. This year I discovered that authors were moving away from this type of story in favor of serious tales. Emilly Giffin was able to successfully tell the tale of the challenges of marriage after writing great “boy meets girl” stories. There was very little about this book that didn’t work. I highly recommend it to all of my Chick Lit blog readers.

Favorite YA Novel

Nominees: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan, Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, The Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Winner: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Book Cover of Before I Fall by Lauren OliverIt was a great year for me in terms of YA books. A quick look at a summary of YA books I read least year shows that a high percentage of the them rated four or five stars. It was hard to narrow this list down to the nominees. It was even harder to pick a winner! After much deliberation I picked Before I Fall. I started reading the book with no expectations. Lauren Oliver was a new author who was not from the usual circle of authors I read. I finished the book with a changed attitude. The way in which Oliver discussed the life and death of the main character was inspiring. I find myself often recommending this book to friends and strangers. Such an amazing book.

So, those are some of my favorite books of 2010. What were some of your favorite reads?

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

I read this book over a month ago for Banned Books Week. I have tried many times–unsuccessfully–to get my thoughts about it down on paper. Here is my latest attempt.

From goodreads.com

Book Cover of Boy Meets Boy by David LevithanThis is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it.
The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.
This is a happy, meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy, wonderful world.

David Levithan mentioned he specifically wrote this book in a way that would make it difficult to challenge, and I think he was successful He does depicts two romantic relationships; however, neither of them engage in behavior racier than that found in a Disney cartoon. Despite this fact, the book has still been challenged by a Wisconsin mother. Her challenge is based solely on the fact that one of the couples is of the same gender. The description of two boys engaging in the simple act of kissing was enough for this person to ask for Boy Meets Boy to be removed from the library shelves. I am appalled at this.

Boy Meets Boy was an enjoyable book in many ways. Unfortunately there was one thing about this story that lessened my enjoyment. I could not find the world the main character Paul lived in believable. This world featured a drag queen as the star quarterback and the Gay-Straight Alliance as the “must join” club. It’s not that I don’t want to see this type of world exist someday; but that from what I’ve seen, that day isn’t here yet. The unaccepting world in which Paul’s friend Tony lives is much more the norm in terms of high school environments. The sharp contrast between the two worlds–accepting and not–felt too rigid. I could not conceive that these two towns could exist side by side. Perhaps the lack of believability was the author’s aim. This bit of the story just didn’t work for me.

Review: Despite the one issue I had with the plot, I still found the book very enjoyable. The author was able to successfully capture the awkwardness of different types of teenage relationships. Tony’s tense relationship with his parents reminded me of many of the fights I had with my own parents during my senior year of high school. Paul’s clumsy attempts to start a new relationship were realistic and truthful. Even the relationships Levithan depicted between best friends reflect the changes many go through during high school. This book had me thinking that a world where people are accepted despite their differences is within reach.

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

I finally found some time to read Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan. Now for the review!

From goodreads.com

Book Cover for Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

I finished this book and my first response was to tell everyone to read it. Levithan manages to tackle two complex topics–9/11 and teenage years–beautifully. I was moved by the characters and their struggles and often found myself tearing up while I was reading.

My husband was surprised to see me reading this book. He remarked that I often avoid TV shows and movies that talk about 9/11; this is very true. I find the coverage of the people who died that day so sad that I try to avoid it. This book does not focus on that aspect of the day. Instead it captures what it is like for those who lived. It deals with how they got by in those first few days after the tragedy. There is something in each character that makes them relatable. While you may have not reacted the same way they did, you can understand their feelings and thoughts. All of this combined to make an honest and true story.

Another thing that I liked about this story was that it focused on teens in New York City. In many ways, this tragedy affected those living in the city differently than the rest of the world. They saw things with their eyes in a way that could not be captured on film. They lived the tragedy in a way that I never will. Levithan captures all of this brilliantly and is able to convey these feelings in such a powerful way.

Review: I usually find myself subconsciously skimming through passages of books while reading. With this book, I made sure to read every single word. There is so much that can be found and learned in the 176 pages of this book. A highly recommended read!

Banned Books To Read

Banned Books IconEver since signing up for Banned Books Month, I have been trying to decided which books to read. While I decided fairly quickly to read four books to celebrate the cause–one a week–it has been harder for me to select which four to read. Thanks to links from Steph Su Reads, I’ve been able to find great resources to find banned & challenged books.

The first thing I noticed when browsing the lists is how many of these books I had already read. For example both Looking For Alaska by John Green and The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson have been banned or challenged. I was not surprised to find the Harry Potter series on the list of top 100 challenged books of the decade. The number of banned or challenged books I had previously read as required reading was unexpected. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous–which I read in middle school English–was listed. Also on the list was The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which I read in AP English my senior year of High School. After seeing so many books that I had read, I began to worry that I would have trouble finding new ones to enjoy.

Book Cover of Coraline by Neil Gaiman Eventually I began to find some possibilities that would make interesting blogs for Banned Books Month . I was excited when I noticed Coraline by Neil Gaiman was listed as challenged. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” list for months, waiting for me to purchase it. This challenge would be a great opportunity for me to finally read it.

Book Cover of Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan Boy Meets Boy The second book I added to my list is Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. While I have read and enjoyed several of the books he has co-written–most recently Will Grayson, Will Grayson–I have yet to read any of his solo efforts. Reading this book for Banned Books month allows me to read a challenged book while checking out some more of his great work.

Book Cover of Twisted by Laurie Halse AndersonLaurie Halse Anderson is an author whose books I have frequently seen mentioned on banned or challenged book lists. Many of my friends have talked about how much they have enjoyed her books. I figured this would be a great chance to check out her work while also reading a banned book. I looked up several of her banned or challenged books on goodreads.com in an attempt to help choose which to read. I decided to add Twisted to my to-read list.

I was pretty successful at picking my first three books. Picking a fourth book has not been as easy. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a possibility. Out of all the books I read during my time in school, I somehow missed this classic. I could read it now and cross it off my “to-read” list, while also reading a banned book. I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block is another option. This book caught my eye several times as I read different banned/challenged book lists and inspired me to put it on my list. Another alternative is the ttyl Internet Girls Series by Lauren Myracle. The series caught my attention due to the fact it is among the top 10 challenged books of the past few years.

So while I am pretty solid on three of my choices, I’m still wavering on my fourth. I would love some suggestions of what banned books people think I should check out. I know you guys have some great banned book recommendations for me!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

As someone who has devoured John Green’s first four stories, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his latest creation, Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I had previously checked out two of David Levithan’s stories, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and enjoyed both. I knew the collaboration of the two great authors would be a must-read.

From Goodreads.com

Will Grayson book coverOne cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

This book focuses on the story of two teenagers, both named Will Grayson. Each author writes from the point of view of a Will Grayson, alternating narration and characters as the story goes on. Both authors are able to describe this time in a teenager’s life perfectly. They artfully communicate the wide range of feelings teenagers have during these years. The authors capture these complex relationships –platonic and romantic– realistically. The characters they create are so true and believable that you can’t help but turn the pages to see what happens to them next.

The wonderful plot of this story made it hard for me to put the book down. It starts out as two characters in contrasting situations. The path they take to each other is very different compared to anything I’ve experienced, while still being something I found myself relating to. The main story of love is not only something that affects teenagers, it affects everyone.

Review: I read a lot of young adult (YA) books. Often I read these books for purely entertainment purposes. Most of the YA books I read help me escape from my life for a bit, to an enjoyable place free of the every day stresses of an adult. In the most wonderful way possible, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is not that type of YA book. All around an amazing book that is a must-read.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to link to my friend Melissa’s blog. She also recently read this book and had some great insight to share on the topic of love. I hope you enjoy the post as much as I did!