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Viewing Blog: Little Willow - Bildungsroman, Most Recent at Top
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I'm an actress, singer, dancer, and writer. I'm also a freelance journalist, a publicist, a bookseller, and a webdesigner. This LiveJournal, for the most part, pertains to books - book reviews, exclusive interviews with authors, press releases, and booklists. My journal has an emphasis on teen fiction, though there are plenty of items for adult fiction and for juvenile fiction (or "kidlit") as well.
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1. Sounds Like Me: My Life (so far) in Song by Sara Bareilles

In her book Sounds Like Me: My Life (so far) in Song, Sara Bareilles proves to be just as candid and charming on the page as she is on stage. Whether it's talking about her grade school years, her anxieties, or the true story behind her hit Love Song, Sara is frank, funny, and open about her life, her career, her struggles, and her triumphs. Her very naturalistic, conversational writing style makes her comes across like a friend talking to you at the dinner table or over the phone, equal parts self-deprecating, hopeful, grateful, and humble.

Sara relates her stories in nine chapters - or essays, if you prefer - each bearing the title of a song she's written. (The section also begins with that song's lyrics, handwritten, which is a very nice touch.) As one might assume with a biography, the book begins with her childhood and ends with her current work on the musical Waitress and is lightly peppered with photographs. In-between, we get a glimpse into her early songs and shows, the year she spent in Italy in college, and her first love and heartbreak. Fellow performers will enjoy the details of life on the road, the gigs when she was just starting out as well as the times she performed in large arenas or on television shows, and so forth, but moreover, they will find connection and comfort in knowing the difficulties Sara faced breaking into the business (and the continued difficulties staying there) as well as the doubt, worry, and vulnerability she feels when writing new songs, collaborating with others, or trying to express her truest feelings in music and words.

Mid-way through the book, in the chapter Beautiful Girl, Sara writes letters to her younger self. This is possibly my favorite section of the book, and it serves as a reminder to be our own best friends, to stop putting ourselves down and to keep our chins up, because time and experience can truly make things better and clearer.

This book will be treasured by Sara Bareilles's fans. I also hope it reaches people who perhaps haven't heard her music, who find her through this book first, because what an amazing experience that would be, to be moved enough by this book and these words to go pick up her CDs. I only wish this book contained all of her albums - but, wait, I already have those. :)

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2. Poetry Friday: Mr. Darcy by Victoria Chang

In the end she just wanted the house
             and a horse not much more what
     if  he didn’t own the house or worse
                     not even a horse how do we

separate the things from a man the man from
             the things is a man still the same
     without his reins here it rains every fifteen
                     minutes it would be foolish to

marry a man without an umbrella did
             Cinderella really love the prince or
     just the prints on the curtains in the
                     ballroom once I went window-

shopping but I didn't want a window when
             do you know it's time to get a new
     man one who can win more things at the
                     fair I already have four stuffed

pandas from the fair I won fair and square
             is it time to be less square to wear
     something more revealing in North and
                     South she does the dealing gives him

the money in the end but she falls in love
             with him when he has the money when
     he is still running away if the water is
                     running in the other room is it wrong

for me to not want to chase it because it owns
             nothing else when I wave to a man I
     love what happens when another man with
                     a lot more bags waves back

- Mr. Darcy by Victoria Chang

Read the poem in its entirety here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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3. Ballou Book Fair

Every year, Colleen from Chasing Ray and Guys Lit Wire sets up a special book fair connected to Ballou Senior High School in Washington, D.C. In Colleen's own words:

Every year, Guys Lit Wire lends its platform to host a book fair for Ballou. Working with librarian Melissa Jackson and her students, we build a wish list of titles they need and then ask the internet to buy a book (or 2) (or more) and send some joy their way. It's quick and it's easy and for book lovers in particular, it's a no-brainer.

We all know that books matter to kids, and we all know why buying books for teens who do not have wide access to them is a smart investment in our world's future. For Ballou, the school fund for book purchases is not large and as a Washington Post article showed earlier this year, the dollars for books in DC often go to wealthier neighborhoods. Also, when they get money schools like Ballou are often not able to purchase the sort of fun or seemingly frivolous titles that teens would really to read.

That is where the Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Ballou comes in. We buy the books the kids ask for, plain and simple.

The mailing address is already set-up for checkout and there are nearly 400 books to choose from with a price range that starts under $5. We do hope you will find a book that you want to send to Ballou and help us fill their shelves with the titles these kids want so very much to read.

Here's the wishlist: http://tinyurl.com/BookFairforBallou

Please share the link to the wishlist as well as the link to Colleen's post at GLW via your blogs and social media to help spread the word.

Don't let it stop there. If you know of a library, school, shelter, or hospital that's in great need of books and other items, give back. Rally up your co-workers, patrons, students, and friends, gather donated items (new or gently used), and donate them to your chosen organization or charity. Share your good fortune and good spirits with others.

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4. Poetry Friday: Followers by Rae Armantrout

This blank sky

between parallel wires


for penmanship


- the beginning of Followers by Rae Armantrout

Read the poem in its entirety here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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5. Poetry Friday: Accounts by Rae Armantrou

Light was on its way
from nothing
to nowhere.

Light was all business

          Light was full speed

when it got interrupted.

Interrupted by what?

When it got tangled up
and broke
into opposite

          broke into brand new things.

          What kinds of things?

- excerpt from Accounts by Rae Armantrout

Read the poem in its entirety here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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6. Best Books of October 2015

October 2015: 15 books and scripts read

Recommended for Teens
Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel
Amity by Micol Ostow

Recommended for Kids
Louise Trapeze is Totally 100% Fearless by Micol Ostow, illustrated by Brigette Barrager

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7. Poetry Friday: Unbidden by Rae Armantrout

The ghosts swarm.
They speak as one
person. Each
loves you. Each
has left something


Did the palo verde
blush yellow
all at once?

Today's edges
are so sharp

they might cut
anything that moved.


The way a lost

will come back

You're not interested
in it now,

in knowing
where it's been.

- Unbidden by Rae Armantrout

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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8. Amity by Micol Ostow

Looking for a book to give you goosebumps this Halloween? Check out Amity by Micol Ostow. Inspired by the house on 112 Ocean Avenue - the Amityville Horror - this work of fiction follows two teenaged protagonists who moved in the same house ten years apart. Gwen and Connor narrate alternating sections in first person, making readers privy to their innermost thoughts as they begin to see and hear things which are out of the ordinary: faces in mirrors, dirt and blood on their own hands and faces, whispers in the night. Objects appear and disappear from different rooms in the house; the air thickens and chills. Yet no one else seems to see and hear these things. No one, except...

Each protagonist has a sibling that is (or was) close to them: Connor has a twin sister, while Gwen has a brother who is barely a year older, a brother who has become more distant and hostile since they moved into the house. Meanwhile, ten years earlier, Connor had a similar temperament, giving into dark thoughts and violent urges, seeming to feed on the evil energy of the house while simultaneously it fed on him.

The parallels between the two stories grow more evident as the story continues, and then things begin to line up, overlap, and explode.

The dual narrative definitely works in this scenario, with Gwen's fear that she is going crazy (again) contrasting effectively with Connor's unapologetic enjoyment as he embraces his darkness. Gwen thinks she's pathetic, but readers will find her sympathetic; Connor is twisted, and he likes it that way. It is interesting to note that both characters are trying to be happy in their own ways and both are pretending to be something they're not.

With short, unnumbered chapters - sometimes no longer than three-quarters of a page - the action moves quickly, and the format and plotting of the story should attract and intrigue horror fans, even those with shorter attention spans.

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9. Louise Trapeze Is Totally 100% Fearless by Micol Ostow, illustrated by Brigette Barrager

Louise Trapeze performs with her parents in the Sweet Potato Circus, but only her parents are allowed to fly from one trapeze to another, while Louise has to do her tricks on one low bar that doesn't swing. Louise's mama and daddy have always said that she'll be allowed to perform on the real flying trapeze when she's nine years old - which seems so far away when you're six-almost-seven years old</i> - but the night before her seventh birthday, they tell her they are going to let her perform on a higher-than-usual trapeze now instead of later! Finally, her dream is coming true!

...except the thought of getting on that new trapeze, which is so high in the air and so far above the net, makes Louise just a little bit nervous. Because it turns out she might be just a little bit scared of heights! And she doesn't want to tell anyone that - not her parents, not her best friend, Stella, or anyone else in the circus. She doesn't even want to admit it to herself, because she doesn't want to feel like a scared little baby - she wants to be a big kid and an awesome performer. But how can she do that when even the thought of getting on that so-high-up trapeze makes the butterflies in her stomach flutter so hard?

Louise Trapeze Is Totally 100% Fearless, the first book in a new series for young readers, is sure to delight youngsters who can't wait to be a "big kid" and want to do "grown up" stuff, but are maybe a little nervous, worried, or scared about growing up or feel like they are not actually physically or emotionally capable to do those things they want so badly to do. Think of the kid who wants to ride a bike but is scared to take off the training wheels.

Written by Micol Ostow, who also writes young adult novels, this sweet story is accompanied by Brigette Barrager's black, white, and pink illustrations. Barrager's style perfectly compliments this story and setting, and it's lovely to see a wide variety of characters, people and critters alike, that are big and tall, short and small, all different shades and sizes - and it must be said that Stella's hair is enviable! Look closely for a nod to Uni the Unicorn, a book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal which Brigette Barrager also illustrated, as well as a reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Spoiler: One of the characters in the Sweet Potato Circus shares a name with a beloved pet from Sunnydale!)

Louise Trapeze Did NOT Lose the Juggling Chickens, the next book in the series, will be available in 2016.

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10. Poetry Friday: Epilogue to the Breakfast Table Series by Oliver Wendell Holmes

A crazy bookcase, placed before
A low-price dealer's open door;
Therein arrayed in broken rows
A ragged crew of rhyme and prose,
The homeless vagrants, waifs, and strays
Whose low estate this line betrays
(Set forth the lesser birds to lime)

This is the opening stanza from Epilogue to the Breakfast Table Series by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Here are two of my favorite stanzas from the poem:

What have I rescued from the shelf?
A Boswell, writing out himself!
For though he changes dress and name,
The man beneath is still the same,
Laughing or sad, by fits and starts,
One actor in a dozen parts,
And whatsoe'er the mask may be,
The voice assures us, This is he.


And his is not the playwright's page;
His table does not ape the stage;
What matter if the figures seen
Are only shadows on a screen,
He finds in them his lurking thought,
And on their lips the words he sought,
Like one who sits before the keys
And plays a tune himself to please.

Click here to read the Epilogue in its entirety.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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11. Savage by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Savage by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Hot on the heels of his latest release, A Deafening Silence in Heaven, and the announcement of his next series, The Demonists, there's another Tom Sniegoski book on the horizon: Savage.

Sidney and her friends must race to find the origin of a storm that has hit their small island home - turning every animal into savage weapons - in this suspenseful thriller from New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Sniegoski.

The future is looking bright for Sidney Moore as she as she gets ready to leave the small island of Benediction behind for one of Boston's top veterinary schools. Only a few small bumps in the road to navigate before she can go - her father's recovery from a debilitating stroke, and her own guilt for ending her relationship with her high school sweetheart. But she's always been strong willed, and she's not about to let anything stop her from achieving her goals.

Now a storm is bearing down on Benediction, a hurricane that will bring devastating winds and rain, rising tides...and something else. Something deadly; something that will transform all the things that creep, crawl, and flutter into instruments of terror and death.

The future is looking bright for Sidney Moore...if only she can survive the storm.

Savage by Thomas E. Sniegoski will be published on May 31st, 2016 by Simon Pulse.

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12. Poetry Friday: Week-night Service by D.H. Lawrence

The silver moon
That somebody has spun so high
To settle the question, yes or no, has caught
In the net of the night's balloon,
And sits with a smooth bland smile up there in the sky
Smiling at naught,
Unless the winking star that keeps her company
Makes little jests at the bells' insanity,
As if he knew aught!

- selected lines from Week-night Service by D.H. Lawrence

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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13. Poetry Friday: Make Them Gold by Chvrches

We are made of our longest days
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of our smallest thoughts
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

- from the song Make Them Gold by Chvrches

If you can't see the video player embedded above, click here to listen to the song on YouTube.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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14. Cemetery Girl, Book Two: Inheritance by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

Cemetery Girl: Inheritance
Last year, I devoured the first Cemetery Girl graphic novel, The Pretenders, in one sitting. I am not always "into" stories in which the main character has amnesia - I am impatient and want to know what happened to the character, and I also really wish I could help them/heal them/restore their memories immediately - but the quick pace of this story offered intrigue and action rather than hemming and hawing, plus I liked the full-color illustrations...and I still felt the urge to help the protagonist and learn more about her.

Today sees the release of Book Two in the Cemetery Girl trilogy, Inheritance. Here's the cover summary:

She calls herself Calexa Rose Dunhill. She has been living - hiding out - in Dunhill Cemetery ever since someone left her there to die. She has no idea who wants her dead or why, but she isn't about to wait around for her would-be killer to finish the job.

Despite her self-imposed isolation, Calexa’s ability to see spirits - and the memories she receives from them - guarantees she'll never be alone, even among the deceased. The only living people she allows herself to interact with are Kelner, the cemetery's cantankerous caretaker, and Lucinda Cameron, an elderly woman who lives in an old Victorian house across the street. With their friendship, Calexa has regained a link to the world beyond tombstones and mausoleums.

Until the night she witnesses a murder that shatters her life - a life now under a police microscope - as their investigation threatens to uncover Calexa’s true identity...

Cemetery Girl: Inheritance was written by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden and illustrated by Don Kramer.

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15. Seize the Night anthology

Attention Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood fans: Here's a new anthology for your to sink your teeth into today!

Seize the NightSeize the Night is old-school vampire fiction at its finest. A blockbuster anthology of original, blood-curdling vampire fiction from New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors, including Charlaine Harris, whose novels were adapted into HBO’s hit show True Blood, and Scott Smith, publishing his first work since The Ruins.

Before being transformed into romantic heroes and soft, emotional antiheroes, vampires were figures of overwhelming terror. Now, from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, comes this stellar collection of short stories that make vampires frightening once again.

Seize the Night was edited by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden and features all-new stories, including:

Up in Old Vermont by Scott Smith
Something Lost, Something Gained by Seanan McGuire
Blood by Robert Shearman
The Neighbors by Sherrilyn Kenyon
On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin by Michael Koryta
Paper Cuts by Gary A. Braunbeck
Miss Fondevant by Charlaine Harris
In a Cavern, In a Canyon by Laird Barron
Whiskey and Light by Dana Cameron
We Are All Monsters Here by Kelley Armstrong
May the End Be Good by Tim Lebbon
Mrs. Popkin by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry
Direct Report by Leigh Perry (Toni L.P. Kelner)
Shadow and Thirst by John Langan
Mother by Joe McKinney
The Yellow Death by Lucy A. Snyder
Last Supper by Brian Keene
Separator by Rio Youers
What Kept You So Long? by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Blue Hell by David Wellington

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16. A Deafening Silence in Heaven by Thomas E. Sniegoski

It's time for a new Remy Chandler novel! Here's a sneak peek of A DEAFENING SILENCE IN HEAVEN by Thomas E. Sniegoski, now available in bookstore everywhere:

He was once known as the angel Remiel. But, generations ago, Boston PI Remy Chandler renounced Heaven and chose to live on Earth, hiding among us humans, fighting to save our souls...

Remy Chandler is hovering on the brink of death, surrounded by friends who are trying to ward off those who would take advantage of his vulnerability. Unbeknownst to them, the greatest threat to Remy is one they can’t fight - God himself. The Almighty dispatches Remy far beyond their reach, to an alternate universe where there has been an apocalyptic catastrophe: the Unification.

Only as he hunts down the source of this calamity, it becomes clearer and clearer that the person responsible for the tragedy may have been none other than Remy himself.

And while he searches for a way to stop his world from following in the footsteps of the doomed alternate reality, enemies are massing in his universe. For the Unification is at hand and, this time, Remy may be powerless to affect its outcome...

Read an excerpt.

A Deafening Silence in Heaven is the latest in a series. I've read them all, and I recommend them all.

Read them in order:

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski   Dancing on the Head of a Pin by Thomas E. Sniegoski   Where Angels Fear to Tread by Thomas E. Sniegoski   A Hundred Words for Hate by Thomas E. Sniegoski   In the House of the Wicked   Walking in the Midst of Fire by Thomas E. Sniegoski   A Deafening Silence in Heaven by Thomas E. Sniegoski

To learn more about the series, visit the website: http://www.sniegoski.com/apocalypse/

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17. Poetry Friday: She Used To Be Mine by Sara Bareilles

It's not simple to say
Most days I don't recognize me
These shoes and this apron
This place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave them

It's not easy to know
I'm not anything that I used to be
Although it's true
I was never attention's sweet center
I still remember that girl

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine

And it's not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through back door
And carves out a person
And makes you believe it's all true
And now I've got you

And you're not what I asked for
If I'm honest, I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over
And rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew

Who'll be reckless just enough
Who'll get hurt but who learns how to toughen up when she's bruised
And gets used by a man who can't love
And then she'll get stuck and be scared
Of the life that's inside her
Growing stronger each day
'Til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little
To bring back the fire in her eyes
That's been gone but it used to be mine

She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely, most of time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine

- She Used to Be Mine from the musical Waitress, written by Sara Bareilles

If you can't see the video embedded above, click here to watch it on YouTube.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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18. Dead Ringers Contest

deadringers       DEAD RINGERS cover 2

Christopher Golden just unveiled a cool, creepy new contest to accompany his cool, creepy new book DEAD RINGERS - Here's an intro to the contest and to the book in Golden's own words:Time to get your evil on! (And your PhotoShop skills!)

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson said "in each of us, two natures are at war - the good and the evil." For the DEAD RINGERS Photo Contest, I want to see both of your natures on display. As the novel opens, Frank Lindbergh is assaulted in his home by a man who wears his face and Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband on a Boston street...which is impossible, because her ex is out of state, on vacation with his new girlfriend. You can read more about the book here, but what you really want to know about is THE CONTEST!

WHAT YOU DO: Create a photo of yourself or a friend being menaced by your (or his or her) evil twin! Subtle or very unsubtle, quiet or bloody, however you want to compose it. If you're a real life twin, all the better for you (no PhotoShop required). Post the photo at the contest announcement at Christopher Golden's blog, and then the judges get to choose the best and creepiest of the lot!

WHO GETS TO JUDGE: In addition to Christopher Golden, the judges deciding the winner will be author and actress AMBER BENSON (The Witches of Echo Park/Buffy the Vampire Slayer), authors JONATHAN MABERRY (Joe Ledger series/Rot & Ruin series), SARAH PINBOROUGH (The Death House/Mayhem), BRIAN KEENE (The Rising/King of the Bastards), and ANGELA BETTIS (actress, star of May, The Woman, and Drones)!

An All-New Kindle Paperwhite (valued at $119-$139)!
TWO Hardcover, Signed, Personalized copies of DEAD RINGERS (one for you and one for the evil twin of your choice, natch)!
A character named after you in Christopher Golden's next novel!
And, of course, eternal glory!

DEADLINE: All photos must be posted by midnight (Eastern time) on Tuesday, November 10th.

What are you waiting for? Take that picture and enter it in the contest!

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19. Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

Whenever I looked back on that summer, I'd think of the bet as what set all the changes in motion. Even though the actual trigger was something that had happened long before. Before Mom left, and before I walked out the door myself - going anywhere I could to escape home. - the opening lines of the novel Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

Twelve years ago, Lorrie Hollander's mother left Lorrie and her younger sister Susannah with their aunt Gigi, an eccentric woman living in Edgewater, a decaying mansion that no longer holds any of its original splendor. While Gigi and Susannah are more likely to give into their whims and whimsy, to adopt wild animals and act on impulse, Lorrie would rather have a more structured life, to act like she has everything under control, and make sure no one ever, ever comes over to the house. As the years went on, Gigi's hoarding problem has only gotten worse, causing the mansion to resemble a ruined, abandoned landmark more than a home.

Attending boarding school helped Lorrie escape the chaos of her home; she also found solace in riding horses. But this summer, everything changes. When her aunt fails to make the proper payments for equestrian camp, Lorrie is sent home. While trying to deal with her aunt, whose handle on both finances and reality are only getting worse, and her sister, whose idle boyfriend is now living with them, Lorrie learns that they don't have the money for her to return to school, either. As her world crumbles around her, Lorrie begins working at a stable to earn money and take care of her horse, Orion. She leans on her best friend Lennox for support occasionally, but she mostly keeps her problems private.

Then she becomes friends with Charlie Copeland, a senator's son. Though the Copelands throw Gatsby-like parties and always smile for the camera, Lorrie learns that Charlie's life isn't all that it's cracked up to be. As their friendship deepens, Lorrie must decide whether or not to confide in Charlie - and whether or not she's ready for the truth about her own family.

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel is the story of a girl taking a deeper look at the cards life dealt her and finally learning how to deal with them. It's about taking off the blinders and dealing with the truth of the matter rather than trying to hide things from others and from yourself. It's about what to accept, what to keep, and what to let go. Put this book in the hands of those who enjoy Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti. They won't be disappointed.

Favorite lines from the book:

That was my life these days: a series of doors slammed shut. - Page 62

If Mom had stayed, surely my sister would be a different kind of girl. And Gigi wouldn't be headed back to the house of horrors in tears. And I wouldn't be standing here, lost between them. - Page 124

This is what it's like when someone you love disappears on you: You try to find the pieces to hold on to, the things no one can take away. - Page 231

It was the story I told myself, and my sister, and my friends. It was the story I put out into the world. [...] There are the stories people tell you about your life, and then there's the truth about it, which is completely your own. - Page 312

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20. Poetry Friday: If I Were by Mary Oliver

There are lots of ways to dance and
to spin, sometimes it just starts my
feet first then my entire body, I am
spinning no one can see it but it is
happening. I am so glad to be alive,
I am so glad to be loving and loved.
Even if I were close to the finish,
even if I were at my final breath, I
would be here to take a stand, bereft
of such astonishments, but for them.

- If I Were by Mary Oliver

I found this poem thanks to the fabulous Courtney Sheinmel.

Related Posts at Bildungsroman:
Next Time by Mary Oliver
How I Go to the Woods by Mary Oliver
The Uses of Sorrow by Mary Oliver
Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver
I Want to Write Something So Simply by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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21. Poetry Friday: That Old Planet - Doctor Who

A little something different for Poetry Friday this week: a quote from the Doctor Who episode Gridlock, in which the Tenth Doctor fondly remembers his home:

"Oh, you should have seen it, that old planet. The second sun would rise in the south, and the mountains would shine. The leaves on the trees were silver, and when they caught the light every morning, it looked like a forest on fire. When the autumn came, the breeze would blow through the branches like a song."

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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22. The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski

It's time for a cover reveal for a new series: The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski.

The Demonists by Thomas E. SniegoskiFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Fallen series and the Remy Chandler series comes a new dark fantasy series filled with demons, exorcisms, and the fight against the darkness.

There is more to our world than meets the eye - darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they're not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer...

It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora's thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.

John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora's possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield - and without John and Theodora's intervention, there is no chance for salvation...

Published April 5th, 2016
Available at Amazon.com
Available at Amazon.co.uk
Published by Roc
ISBN-10: 0451473523
ISBN-13: 978-0451473523

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23. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

When Robyn Plummer walks into Room 13B, Adam falls in love at first sight. That may sound like a typical boy-meets-girl story, but, thankfully, this book is anything but cliché. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten is refreshingly honest, anchored by a memorable main character.

Adam, age 15, is vulnerable, loyal, and sometimes confused by his feelings and by the actions of those around him. He is quieter than some, a little more in his thoughts, which are expressed in limited third-person narrative. His parents are divorced, and he lives with his mom most of the time. She pretends everything is okay while enduring her own private struggle, something Adam tries to both respect and understand. Meanwhile, his father has remarried, and while Adam gets along all right with his dad and his stepmom, the member of that household that undoubtedly enjoys his visits the most is his little brother, Sweetie, who is full of life and full of love. (Kudos to Toten for creating a young, vibrant character that sounds and acts his age. Absolutely spot-on depiction of a preschooler.) It is interesting to note what (and who) each member of Adam's family clings to, and what they're willing to fight for when the going gets tough.

When Adam isn't in one of his two homes, he is usually in Room 13B. Room 13B isn't a classroom; it's a meeting place for a young adult OCD support group. This book gave me what I wanted but didn't get from the TV show Red Band Society: a realistic look at a diverse group of kids who meet due to a medical diagnosis but are not defined by their condition; people who are not the "worst" examples of their condition nor the "best"; characters who are relatable but not cookie-cutter. Each teen has a distinct personality, appearance, and medical history. Their bonding sessions both inside and outside of Room 13B are wonderful. They honestly try to help one another rather than sabotage or one-up each other. When Chuck, the friendly, caring doctor who oversees the group, asks the kids to adopt nom de guerres, almost all of them select superhero names. Robyn picks Robin, prompting Adam to immediately declare himself Batman.

Adam is determined to win Robyn's heart. He has never been in love before, never had a girlfriend, but he falls head over heels for Robyn. He is not simply on a quest for love, but actually fascinated by this specific girl. As the story continues, their friendship develops and deepens. Adam's unconscious need to protect others extends easily to Robyn as he learns more about her, and he tries to be a better person (and taller) so he can be worthy of her. His OCD rituals are both aided and exacerbated by his new goals and his growing awareness that things aren't entirely right at either of his homes.

This book is good. It's solid and it's interesting and it's realistic and it's good. It sheds light on a condition that many people suffer from in silence and shame, and instead of reducing OCD to a punchline or over-dramatizing it, Toten offers believable characters with various rituals and paths to healing. The story moves at an easygoing pace with decent plotting. And most of all, it has a realistic protagonist who is a truly good egg. Adam is dealing with that wonderful, frustrating time when you don't want to be treated like a child but you sometimes wish you were still a carefree little kid, when you want to be independent but you can't drive yet, when you realize your parents are people with their own histories and bad habits and secrets. Just as the author does with his little brother, Toten is also able to capture the appropriate tone for Adam's age and situation. Adam sits at neither hero-with-a-burden character extreme, not wallowing in unbearable darkness and cursing the weight of the world that sits upon his shoulders, nor grinning from ear to ear and boasting that everything's going to be fine. He's simply trying to live his life. As his heart gets broken and mended, so will the hearts of readers.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten is a beautifully simple, steady coming-of-age story that I highly recommend, especially to fans of Jordan Sonnenblick and David Levithan.

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24. Poetry Friday: The Lesson by William Wordsworth

There is a flower, the lesser celandine,
That shrinks like many more from cold and rain,
And the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, 'tis out again!

- the first stanza of The Lesson by William Wordsworth

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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25. Best Books of September 2015

September 2015: 10 books and scripts read

Recommended for Kids
The Education of Ivy Blake by Ellen Airgood
Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins

Recommended for Teens
Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

The Play's the Thing
#therevolution by Kristoffer Diaz

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