Lest you think from our Back to School post that we’re completely over summer, we thought we’d highlight a few books that will get you through the rest of the dog days. There are still several more weeks left until it cools down, and these great reads will help you hang on to the summer days:
I’M A SHARK by Bob Shea
Even sharks can be afraid… (watch the adorable video)
DUDE: FUN WITH DUDE AND BETTY by Lisa Pliscou, illustrated by Tom Dunne
Dick and Jane…surfer style!
JUNONIA by Kevin Henkes
10-year-old Alice Rice grows up during her family’s annual summer vacation in Florida.
JEREMY BENDER VS. THE CUPCAKE CADETS by Eric Luper
Check out this hilarious video of Eric Luper interviewing Eric Luper.
WITHERING TIGHTS by Louise Rennison
A summer performing arts camp? Boys, snogging, and bad acting guaranteed! Recommend to your fans of “Glee” or Georgia Nicholson.
FINS ARE FOREVER by Tera Lynn Childs
Mermaids are the next vampires…or werewolves…or angels…! This sequel to
This is a warning, folks. On June 30th at 7:00 PM a rugged band of children’s and YA authors will be gathering at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Colonie Center in Colonie, NY.
That’s right, it’s time for the Summer Reading Kickoff Bookfair Spectacular . . . celebrating (wait for it) the Dolly Parton Imagination Library! Because when it comes to Dolly, the first two things anyone thinks of are reading and, erm, I forget the second thing.
So, hey, let’s put the focus on reading this summer. Bring your young readers to pick up their free Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Journal to earn a FREE BOOK and the chance to WIN A NOOK COLOR. Authors will be standing by — sitting, hopefully, on cushy chairs, under a tasteful arrangement of palm fronds — happy to autograph books. Any books.
Check out this list of authors I think will be there . . .
Julia DeVillers * Aimee Ferris * Rose Kent * Jackie Morse Kessler
Sarah Darer Littman * Eric Luper * James Preller * Jennifer Roy
Eric Luper's historical YA novel BUG BOY comes out on Tuesday, and I can't resist a little book celebration for one of my critique pals. If you know eluper , then you know he's one of the nicest, funniest guys you'll ever meet. If you've read his first YA novel, BIG SLICK, you know he can spin a timely, fast-paced gambling story like nobody's business. Now there's BUG BOY - a gambling story from days gone by that shows his talent for writing historical fiction as juicy and fast-paced as anything set in modern times.
This is a book that's going to make teen boys fall in love with historical fiction without ever knowing what hit them. Set in 1934 Saratoga, BUG BOY is about an apprentice jockey who finds himself living the high life when his big opportunity comes knocking. But secrets from his past, pressure from a race course thug, and the attention of a beautiful young woman from the other side of the fence make his life more complicated than he could have imagined. One teacher note: BUG BOY is probably best for older middle school and high school students, since the realistic portrayal of rough track life includes some language and sexual situations. Actually, I'm betting that a bunch of adult readers are going to discover and love this book, too - it has incredible crossover appeal, especially for horse racing and history fans. If you need it right this very second (and you probably do) click here to buy it from an indie bookstore near you!
Fascinating, gritty, and full of tension, BUG BOY is a sure win. Congrats, Eric!
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Luper, Eric. Bug Boy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.
The crafts people and artists who make up my circle of friends amaze me. I feel lucky and proud to have Eric Luper in this circle. I know that I said I would only review picture books and books for middle grade audiences. I know. But I just finished Eric Luper’s, Bug Boy (which is a Young Adult book) and I couldn’t put it down.
What’s really wonderful about this book is how Eric works the plot arch. First the reader learns to love the protagonist Jack Walsh, a shabby horse exerciser and stable cleaner. He makes Jack’s desires crystal clear and provides the main character with enough know how, personality, and drive to get the job done. The reader routes for Jack 100%.
Next, Eric immerses the reader in the horse racing culture of Saratoga Springs in 1934. From architecture to wardrobe, racing strategy to jockey speak, the historic and racing details are amazing. The reader can hear the sounds of the track: skirts rustling, hooves pounding, bookies gambling-- cigar smoke mixes with whiskey and horse manure. Lovely!
Finally, Eric ratchets up the tension by inserting well-placed obstacles for our hero. The obstacles are physical, psychological, and ethical and force Jack Walsh to make grown up decisions. As the tension mounts (get it, mounts), Eric reveals back story as smoothly as a spider exudes her webbing until he catches the reader on the edge of her seat. At one point of the story, I actually said aloud, “Oh no she didn’t.”
While the book is written for Young Adults I highly recommend it for adults as well. If this book isn’t optioned for a movie in the next few years, I’ll eat my riding helmet.
I'm about half an hour early in celebrating the release day for this book, but just couldn't wait for it to be officially June 8th.
Why the excitement?
For starters, SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO by Eric Luper is one of the funniest books I've ever read -- snorting, laugh-out-loud, funny. But what makes it even more terrific is that the humor is mixed with drama, hope, and the kind of heartbreak that only comes with being a teenager in love.
Poor Seth is having a rough day when the book opens. His girlfriend has just dumped him during her dinner break from work, and across the restaurant, he's just spotted his father on a date with a woman who is most definitely not his mother. The fact that all of this happens at Applebee's somehow adds to the sting.
As Seth nurses his own relationship wounds and tries to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding his father's...(mistress? Is that what she is?)...he decides to explore the very nature of love itself by starting his own podcast on the topic. The podcasts are as witty and insightful and wonderful as the perfectly imperfect characters in this YA romantic comedy. It is just all-around brilliant and great fun, too. And did I mention there's golf? And really bad chicken salad sandwiches?
Eric is one of my writing critique partners, but I'd love this book whether I knew him or not. It's one of those YA novels, in the spirit of John Green and David Levithan, that both boys and girls are going to love. Available today (yay!!!) from Balzer and Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins.
And one more note...Eric is running a very cool contest to celebrate Seth's arrival in the world. You can win books, audiobooks, an iPod shuffle, and great things like that. Click here for information on how to enter.