Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Significance of the Title 'The Catcher in the Rye' Analysis

Hey guys! Just wanted to show you guys the first draft of the essay I wrote for my English class =) I ended up getting an A =)


Oral Exposé: Significance of ‘Catcher in the Rye’

In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, a myriad of themes and symbols are explored throughout the novel. One significant symbol is the title itself, The Catcher in the Rye. Childlike innocence is a concept often questioned and argued by many. It is the mindset of the heart wherein it is untainted and untouched by pride and selfishness. Teenagers, such like Holden, are at a liminal age in life. He is in the threshold between childhood and adulthood; between the innocence embodied by children and the disillusionment accompanied by adulthood. Holden has been exposed to vast vulgarity, corruption, and impurity in society and in his experiences. Through the dark, gritty moments he faces in Catcher in the Rye, Holden finally realizes that children are often corrupted by the adults surrounding them. Holden wants to become the Catcher in the Rye, conserving and preserving childlike innocence in its purest form, and protecting children from the vices they will face in adulthood. Ultimately, The Catcher in the Rye is significant because it symbolizes Holden as the ‘Preserver of Innocence’ but at the same time, amplifies Holden’s realization that he is powerless to preserve it on his own.

Ironically, the role of a ‘Catcher in the Rye’ is selfless and caring, the complete opposite of how the audience perceives Holden in the novel. With the suddenly positive image "I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all…I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff… I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff…I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy,” contrasting the negative atmosphere throughout the novel, this contrives a sense of hope for Holden. The cliff indicates the fall from childhood into adulthood, and the rye field represents childhood, somehow also symbolizing childlike freedom and happiness. When Holden says he wants to be the ‘Catcher in the Rye’, it means that he wants to be the one to catch children before they fall into adulthood.

Although difficult to see clearly through his derisive façade of cynical seclusion, Holden signifies the ‘Catcher in the Rye’ or the ‘Preserver of Innocence’ first when the title is first mentioned, in chapter sixteen, Holden hears a little boy singing to himself. The real lyrics are “If a body meet a body, coming through the rye,” but the little boy sings “If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye,” the pronounced mistake demonstrates the boy’s innocence and untainted youth, as well as it is catalyst that triggers Holden’s desire to become a ‘Catcher in the Rye’. Notably, he is only cynical or criticizing towards people who aren’t his age. The replacement of ‘meet a body’ for ‘catch a body’ is extremely figurative because of its presence in the title itself.

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden eventually realizes that he is unable to stop the progression (or regression in Holden’s opinion) to adulthood. When Holden goes to Phoebe’s school, looking to deliver her a note, he stumbles upon a “fuck-you” written in the stairs to the point that “I thought I wanted to puke again.” And he rubs it off so the children won’t see it. But later, he finds another “fuck-you” etched on the wall with a knife, the permanence of the “fuck-you” symbolizing that he cannot protect innocence himself.

The Catcher in the Rye is an intense, powerful, introspective novel with three-dimensional characters, accentuated by the descriptive, harsh, gritty world Salinger has created. The vices and lonely atmosphere present all throughout The Catcher in the Rye is deceptive and unsettling with Holden’s skewed, biased perceptions of the world and the people surrounding him. The vivid depictions of the dark realities and concepts that Holden face are provocative; it triggers thought-provoking questions about issues that plague the real world today. Holden’s experiences as a teenager, parallels itself both to the past, and the realities faced today. As the reader journeys with Holden on his path of his downfalls and insight, it is seen that there is a deeper concept of the idea of innocence and the fall towards adulthood.


Monday, January 17, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (2) - Paranormal vs. Contemporary

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year. Most likely, it will be a tri-weekly post feature on my blog.

Today's Topic:

Young Adult Genres: Paranormal vs. Contemporary; what is better?

Based on what you've been seeing lately on my blog, you might have seen that I'm a little bit biased to contemporary, hence why I'm hosting the 2011 YA Contemporary Challenge. Sure, I appreciate paranormal fact, I love them! But my first love will always be contemporary young adult fiction. Some paranormal books, like The Body Finder Series, are completely amazing books with really great, fresh ideas and concepts. But paranormal books don't have the same relatability as contemporary books.

Two contemporary novels that I recently read, Like Mandarin and Other Words for Love, have really affected me and shook me to my core. I have never related to anybody more than flawed characters like Grace and Ari. Both of these characters were ordinary, yet extremely unique. I was really able to relate to their experiences because what teenage girl doesn't? Both Ari and Grace had insecurities deeply rooted into their personalities...much like us. And Ari, with her normal life, underwent the daily, everyday scenarios that we go through. We have a lot of similarities with characters from the contemporary genre; we experience what they experience, we have the same problems (romantic, familial, etc.), we have similar insecurities, and we have all been Ari or Grace one time or another in our lives. We live their lives.

That's not to say that paranormal books are really horrible, I love them! It's just that the concepts in these books get a little overdone; first it was the vampires, then the werewolves, then the angels and/or demons. There are some paranormal novels though, like Clarity, A Touch Mortal, The Body Finder, or Angelfire, in which we really relate to the characters...not the paranormal aspect of it, but the aspects and experiences they feel in normalcy. For me, the paranormal genre is mostly just contemporary added with the mystical elements. You're able to empathize with the character, but not completely. You can't fully appreciate and relate to what they're going through.

So, ultimately, I like contemporary YA better than paranormal YA...of course, there are a few exceptions.

What about you? What genre do you prefer? Tell me in the comments! I'd love to see what you think!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook

Title: Haven
Author: Kristi Cook
Pages: 416
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 22, 2011

One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future. But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven. Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
Deceitful and strikingly dramatic, Haven twists overused concepts into a captivating mystery of electrifying romance, rich background, and an ancient sense that instills itself gradually into the tension-filled air. The paranormal and contemporary elements blend perfectly and form a flawless dynamic that catapults readers into the veiled world of Winterhaven. The ensemble of characters result to explosive connections and friendships made. The plot brims with undulated mystery and intricate details that enhance the nuances of the paranormal aspect.

Violet is confused with her abilities that she classifies as a burden. She's naive and clueless to the Winterhaven's real purpose. Her relationship with Aiden doesn't build up at all. At first sight, they already have a sizzling interaction which plays out to be unconvincing. Her actions prove to be clingy and reckless which doesn't seem pertinent to her real, inner character. Although her character is quite well-built, her voice isn't distinct and her interactions with Aiden, cliché and misused.

Aiden is a multifaceted character, clear from the different sides he shows. Throughout the novel, he is hot-and-cold, instead of being an attractive asset, it turns to an annoying, irritating side of his personality. His distant personality ultimately classifies him as a loner at Winterhaven. He lacks interactions with the other classmates, not solidifying his character enough to be believable. And although he drives a big portion of the mystery and intrigue, almost every interaction with him is seemingly awkward. Aiden has the potential to be a great character, but he falls flat as a love interest and as a friend.

Violet's friends drive the comedic elements of the plot and they are their interactions with Violet are always humorous and fun. Sophie, Cece, Kate, and Marissa's support for Violet is always constant, no matter what crazy stunts Violet is up to. The bond they form is admirable and each character has their individual flaws and personalities. Their friendship blossoms steadily as they begin to trust each other. With their different powers, and their unbreakable bond, they are an unstoppable force.

Cook's writing is exceptionally captivating and compelling. The paranormal elements really seep into the words and writing style, weaving an intricate play of words. Pertinent to the ancient air, the setting's atmosphere is molded to mirror the enigmatic role of the school and the students there. Haven's pacing is consistent and adept, speeding up just right to lead into the explosive climax.

Haven is a compelling, complex novel that keeps the reader absorbed in fiery drama, unraveled lies, and the ultimate deception. Cook brings immense surprise with the shocking ending and it ties up the events flawlessly and leaves room for an obvious sequel. Detailed and vivid, with somewhat lacking main characters, and effortless writing, Haven is a gripping read with haunted illusions and suspense.

The Bottom Line: An fantastic debut with lots of potential to become a great, developed series.

---Field Report---
Originality: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Plot: 8/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 9/10
Theme: 8/10
Imagery: 8/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 4/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 4/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 84/100 (B+)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (1) - Media's Effect

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year. Most likely, it will be a tri-weekly post feature on my blog.

Today's Topic:

Does our perception of an exaggerated high school, affect our perception and our actions in a normal high school environment? Do we imitate what we see in the media?

Most (if not all) of the books in the young adult genre involve a school of some sort; boarding school, public school, private school, whatever. But most of the time, they're in a high school setting. When we think of high school, usually, cliques, popularity, mean girls, parties, and nerds all come to mind. All of these classifications and general ideas are planted and deeply rooted into our mindset by the media; namely books, movies, and magazines.

In real life, some of these things are completely true, others are not...some of them school myths. But as I observe and participate in my daily life as a sophomore in high school, I notice more and more that the things we see or read in the media, are affecting the way we behave in high school. There were never a lot of cliques in my school, but after the Mean Girls Movie stage and as the YA books began to boom, there became more and more stereotyping and generalizing in school.

So to answer the question, in my opinion, yes, we let the media influence are daily interactions and the inner dynamics of high school. In most books, high school is portrayed at a highly exaggerated level, making people think that it IS high school reality. But in truth, it isn't. The media has influenced the stereotyping, the generalizing, the decisions, and the judgments that high school kids matter how big, or how small a difference.

What do you think? Do we let the media affect us? Or don't we? Let me know in the comments! Agree or disagree? I'd love to know either way!


Friday, January 14, 2011

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

Title: Lipstick Laws
Author: Amy Holder
Pages: 240
Publisher: Graphia
Publication Date: April 4, 2011

At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?
Just like the average high school, Penford High has its own cliques...and its own set of mean girls. The queen? Britney Taylor. April Bowers is the complete opposite. Barely anybody knows she exists. But when Britney notices her one fateful day, April is sucked in to a world of superficiality. Sure, April's popular now, but Britney has plans that April has to refuse.

The Lipstick Laws provides readers with an entertaining, appealing look into high school life. Though it portrays a lackluster, exaggerated version of high school, readers are able to grasp the complexities of friendship and choices in this novel. The Lipstick Laws is a charming, light read, but its concepts and ideas aren't as original, making it a little forgettable. The conflicts in this novel are often seen throughout the young adult genre and the outcomes are somewhat predictable.

One of the better aspects of this novel are the characters. Although most fall into their respective stereotypes, characters such as April and her fellow 'Lipstick Lawbreakers'. April's transformation is even more pronounces as she changes from a weak, push-over follower to an independent, strong person who stands up for herself. The 'Lipstick Lawbreakers' all bring life and hilarity to the novel as well as balance out the ditzy, typical queen bee Britney Taylor. The pranks that they play on Britney are extremely funny.

Holder's writing flows smoothly, although at times cliché. April's narration is captured flawlessly as an outsider. Her insecurities and worries are really seep into Holder's writing. The atmosphere The Lipstick Laws is unconvincingly-developed because it over-emphasizes popularity and the fabricated concept of the 'Lipstick Laws'.

The Lipstick Laws is a love-hate book. There are times you'll want to laugh out loud and hug the characters, and other times, you'll want to rip their heads off because of their stereotypes. It effectively portrays friendship and the idea of insecurities, but it also stays a rather generic, typical Mean Girls meets The Clique. A good debut, but not a great one.

The Bottom Line: I've already seen a lot of books like this, but this book made me LOL my heart out! It's just a matter of laying low with too many stereotypes. Forgettable, but still a light, fun read.

---Field Report---
Originality: 5/10
Ending: 7/10
Characters: 7/10
Plot: 6/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 8/10
Theme: 7/10
Imagery: 7/10
Setting: 4/5
Voice: 4/5
Style: 4/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 9/10
Total Score: 73/100 (B-)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Books to Die for (1) - The Winter 2011 HarperTeen Edition

'Books to Die for' is a fixture here at TUBL that features to-be-released books that I would personally DIE for (or have already died for and gotten). This feature is somewhat similar to 'Waiting on Wednesday' and 'Books to Pine for' posts, but it will not be posted on a specific day of the week and it will be a weekly feature here at TUBL.

Hereafter by Tara Hudson - June 7th, 2011
DIE-worthy? Definitely. Based on the cover, it already looks DIE-worthy! Plus the premise is sounds awesome!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini - May 31st, 2011
DIE-worthy? Yup, I haven't seen a premise as original as this one. It seems to be a blend of mythical and paranormal elements. Count me in!

Nightspell by Leah Cypess - May 31st, 2011
DIE-worthy? Of course! I loved Leah's first novel, Mistwood, and this is the companion novel!

Lark by Tracey Porter - April 8th, 2011
DIE-worthy? This is really different from other YA books. It's a blend of paranormal and mystery with three different narrators. I look forward to this!

Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison - April 8th, 2011
DIE-worthy? Definitely. This is the third book in the Madison Avery trilogy. I'm excited to see how it concludes!

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik - December 8th, 2010
DIE-worthy? Heck yes! This seems like a really good, hilarious contemporary book! I can't wait to read it!

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young - June 21st, 2011
DIE-worthy? *nods head furiously* It's by Suzanne Young. 'Nuff said.

Die For Me by Amy Plum - May 10th, 2011
DIE-worthy: This book had me at 'supernatural mythology' so...duh!

Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski - June 21st, 2011
DIE-worthy? I'm loving the wickedly long title, and besides that, I love Sarah's books! This sounds exciting!

Secrets by Rina Onur and Lauren Kunze - June 1st, 2011
DIE-worthy? Absolutely. The Ivy was one of my favorite contemporary novels. I love the mystery and deceit elements in the plot. It's not even a question of whether or not it's DIE-worthy =)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 Love!

So I mentioned my 2010 favorites. Now it's show some early 2011 love! I was lucky enough to get to read these books! I have a feeling 2011 is going to bring some really really good books! Bring it on!

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton - I love Will. I love Ellie. I even like Bastian {haha}. If this book can make me love the bad guys, than it definitely deserves a place here!

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting - It's the sequel to The Body Finder....need I say more?

Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Lena and Alex's chemistry blooms really well here. And the dystopian society is so well-formed. I don't usually like dystopian, but this is an exception.

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal - By far, this has been the best contemporary read I've ever come across. It is such a beautiful story.

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard - I have never gotten so emotional over a book.


Special mention:

Wither by Lauren DeStefano - I applaud Lauren for writing such a thought-provoking book that touched base with lots of controversial subjects in a dystopian setting.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Best of 2010: Ultimate Faves

This is a bit late, but I couldn't NOT post about my favorites of 2010! 2010 was a fantastic year for YA literature and I hope 2011 will be better! Cheers to 2010! Here are the THREE books that I found worthy of ultimate favoritism =)

She's so Dead to Us by Kieran Scott - I've never been into the whole mean-girls vs. nice-girls thing, but Kieran Scott (Kate Brian) has made me go to the dark side! The diabolical-ness is at a whole new level! Toss in an awesome protagonist and a really really hot guy, and you get this.

Forget You by Jennifer Echols - Let's face it, anything JenEchols writes is phenomenal. Forget You is her best book so far. The chemistry between Zoey and Doug is undeniable and the whole amnesia thing just spices things up! I'm in love with Doug. Seriously. I am.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan - I don't usually hang onto paranormal books that much, but Firelight is just a MAJOR exception. There's so much fire and so many secrets in it and all of the characters are awesome! And did I mention Will? The kick-ass dragon hunter? Forbidden romance, heck yeah!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Best of 2010: Best YA Paranormals

This is a bit late, but I couldn't NOT post about my favorites of 2010! 2010 was a fantastic year for YA literature and I hope 2011 will be better! Cheers to 2010! Here are the FIVE best YA Paranormals out there!

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting - Do I need explain why? Kimberly Derting is the GODDESS of the paranormal genre! She mixes it up with a kick-butt protagonist with a really cool power, a super duper swoon-worthy guy, a steamy romance, a psychotic killer, and a heck of a lot of suspense and mystery. Team Jay FTW! I see dead people. {Joke} =)

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus - I am in love with this book. The romance is amazing, the characters are awesome, and to top it all of, there's a big spoonful of suspense and mystery being served here! I can't wait for the sequel (if there is one)!

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - Alexandra Adornetto is officially superwoman! The paranormal genre is incomplete without angels! I think I'm obsessed with Xavier...a little too much. Beth and her siblings are the COOLEST angels ever; especially with their powers. I think my obsession with Halo is becoming a little bit too unhealthy!

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer - If you haven't heard of this book, you must have an incomplete void because Nightshade is freaking amazing! I love Calla and her pack. And yes, I am DEFINITELY Team Ren! Who the heck is Shay? *smirks*

By Midnight by Mia James - I recently just read this and all I can say is that it is FANTASTIC. There were so many secrets that plagued this book and discovering the truth was such an exhilarating journey for me! Plus, the guy in it is totally sexy =)


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Best of 2010: Best YA Contemporaries

This is a bit late, but I couldn't NOT post about my favorites of 2010! 2010 was a fantastic year for YA literature and I hope 2011 will be better! Cheers to 2010! Here are the FIVE best YA contemporaries out there!

The Duff by Kody Keplinger - This is definitely my favorite contemporary read of 2010. Kody Keplinger is amazing! I love the originality of her ideas and the molding of her characters. Bianca is definitely a kick-ass narrator and I love her best friends. And then there's Wesley. 'Nuff said.

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride - I just loved the chemistry between Max and Tessa. And add bad-ass Noelle into the mix? You're in for some drama! I love how the photography and the events come together here. Kristina's writing is flawless.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers - Is Courtney Summers ever NOT on a 'Best Contemp' list? Her writing is gritty and she gets straight to the point. Regina is probably one of the most flawed protagonists I know, and that makes her all the better...besides having the same name as's not my fault I'm named after a kick-ass character! I read anything Courtney Summers writes!

The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer - This is a great contemporary with some MAJOR psychological thriller-ness in the mix! Framing, murder, and drugs...what more can you want? Eliot Schrefer will seriously have you guessing who the killer is. And it isn't ANYBODY you expect.

The Star Shack by Lila Castle - Seriously, I never get tired of re-reading this book. This book is full of yummy, oozing summer romance! Anabelle and Peter are the cutest couple ever. And the little quirks in the book make it all the more enjoyable!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Title: Through Her Eyes
Author: Jennifer Archer
Pages: 240
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 5, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Tansy Piper moves with her grandfather and her mother, a horror writer, to the setting of her mother's next book--a secluded house outside of a tiny, desolate West Texas town. Lonely and upset over the move, Tansy escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems she finds hidden in the cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and world of a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier.
While her mother is running away from her past, Tansy moves with her; always moving, always running away. Because of all the moves, Tansy doesn't have any friends and it leaves her lonely and isolated. When they move to a West Texas town, she finds mysterious poems in a journal that belonged to Henry, the 'ghost' that haunts their house. As she finds sanctuary in her photography and in Henry's writing, she is pulled into his seductive world and can't let go. Will she let his past consume her future?

Hauntingly vivid and thoroughly original, Through Her Eyes is a blend of many elements. Here, a historical setting is interwoven with an authentic contemporary one, with the interchanging between the two different times. The paranormal aspect of the novel comes naturally with the gritty, well-established setting. Both elements pull together to forge an eerie, sometimes rustic feel to the book. The classic small town atmosphere dominates both culturally and atmospherically.

Through Her Eyes would be incomplete without its characters. Tansy is a flawed character that questions her mom's decisions in the novel. She hides behind her camera at times, but her vulnerability and her thoughtfulness is apparent in the way she treats her grandfather. She resonates with the reader extremely well because the different sides of her personality parallel to the different aspects of a person at a pertinent level. Just like Tansy, Bethyl Ann is also an outsider. She exudes a more original personality than the rest of the characters. Although she's younger, her mature mentality and her endearing quirks will definitely charm readers. The relationships formed in Through Her Eyes are definitely intense and well-built. The parallelisms between Tansy's relationship with Tate and with Henry manifest at the very beginning; both love interests intrigue her right away.

Through Her Eyes starts out at a snail's pace; a lot of time is spent on long, sometimes dragging descriptions of the town. Archer's writing is fluid but some parts are unnecessary and only prolong the novel's anti-climactic stage. Regardless, the overall atmosphere in Through Her Eyes is solid with a disconnected semblance, deftly and effectively portraying an outsider's narration.

Although slow at the beginning, Through Her Eyes picks up the pace to an arresting climax. Rapt with mystery, and a haunting romance, Jennifer Archer's debut is definitely a fresh and imaginative novel with adept characters, an unpredictable storyline, and writing that captures the essence of a small town.

The Bottom Line: An unconventional debut.

Originality: 9/10
Ending: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 8/10
Theme: 8/10
Imagery: 8/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 4/5
Style: 4/5
Tone: 4/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 84/100 (B+)


Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Young Adult Contemporary Challenge @ TUBL

Buttons created by Lale of Lale on Lit =)

Because of the plethora of paranormal books flooding the market (not that I have anything against it, in fact, I love paranormal books!), realistic contemporary YA fiction has taken the back seat. My goal with this challenge is to get you guys to read more YA contemporary books, hence, the 2011 Young Adult Contemporary Challenge! Spread the word (You can use either images above for the official button)!

What is contemporary? It's the genre wherein the events can happen in real life at the present time. The characters in the novel can be present in real life.

Goal: To read a minimum of thirteen young adult contemporary novels published in 2011.

- All contemporary books must be in the Young Adult genre
- Books have to be published in 2011
- Open to everybody. Please fill in the form to enter.
- You can join whenever you want
- If you want to enter with your blog link, you have to post about the challenge.
- Link your reviews of 2011 Contemporary books in the MisterLinky below.

Mister Linky: (Post your reviews here)
Sign the MisterLinky as shown in the example below.

Your Name: The DUFF (The Undercover Book Lover)
Your URL:

*Tri-monthly, I will have a giveaway for the participants of this challenge. Each review that you post in the MisterLinky above is equal to an entry in the tri-monthly challenge contest. The contests will include two books of choice from a list of AWESOME contemporary books and lots of swag =)

List of some YA Contemporary Books:
(If you want your book/a book to be added, email me at or comment here with the title, author, and release date!)
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard - March 8, 2011
Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal - January 11, 2011
Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg - January 1, 2011
Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles - May 24th, 2011
Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer - February 15, 2011
OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy - May 11, 2011
Darlings are Forever by Melissa Kantor - January 4, 2011
The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook - January 4, 2011
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors - January 4, 2011
Illegal by Bettina Restrepo - March 11, 2011
Pink by Lili Wilkinson - February 8, 2011
Playing Hurt by Holly Schlindler - March 1, 2011
Subway Girl by P. J. Converse - March 15, 2011
So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti - May 3, 2011
The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan Mcvoy - May 3, 2011
The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel - May 10, 2011
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen - may 10, 2011
Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott - May 24, 2011
Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins - January 4, 2011
The Locket by Stacey Jay - February 3, 2011
He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott - June 7, 2011
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder - June 28, 2011
Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris - February 8, 2011
Secrets by Lauren Kunze & Rina Onur - June 1, 2011
Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi - June 9, 2011
And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky - July 26, 2011
Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt - July 12, 2011
Forever Summer by Alyson Noel - April 26, 2011
Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez - April 19, 2011
Stay by Deb Caletti - April 19, 2011
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker - July 19, 2011
Starstruck by Cyn Balog - July 12, 2011
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski - June 21, 2011
Pearl by Jo Knowles - July 19, 2011
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace - May 8, 2011
Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton - May 3, 2011
I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson - February 8, 2011
Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones - February 1, 2011
Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin- February 1, 2011
You Don't Know About Me by Brian Meehl - May 10, 2011
The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin - May 10, 2011
Orchards by Holly Thompson - February 22, 2011


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Discussion Post: What books will teens be studying 100 years from now?

So Lale from Lale on Lit posted about this a while ago, and I found it really cool so I decided to post my own list of books that teens might be studying in a hundred years from now.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney - This novel, much like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, focuses on the somewhat fragile and contradictory subject of rape. I think that both of these books have great themes and delve into what it means to stand up for yourself. I also find that teens will be able to empathize and relate to these books because of the unvarnished realities in these contemporary reads.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Delirium is a really great dystopian book that would be great for studying and analyzing. All of the symbolic imagery and the lyrical prose are great for analyzing literary techniques. The theme and the actual plot line can also be written about. I think that the originality of this novel will really be appreciated by teen readers.

Perfect Chemistry Series by Simone Elkeles - The parallelisms between this series and Romeo and Juliet can be compared and analyzed together. The gritty atmosphere is also great to write about. What makes this series special is that it is easily relatable to teens all around the world because it revolves around stereotypes, poverty, and discrimination; all concepts and themes that are relevant to today's society.

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton - This book portrays female empowerment extremely well and really captures how to merge fact and fiction together with the myths and legends imbued into the story. Teens will enjoy the normalcy of the protagonist and her own familial problems that can be easily empathized with by teens.

The Ivy Series by Rina Onur and Lauren Kunze - This series portrays college life really well and focuses on the consequences of teenagers' actions. It doesn't sugar-coat much and it also looks at the pros and cons of the different decisions that teenagers will have to make. A read that can be empathized with, greatly.

What about you guys? What books do you think teens will be studying in school, a hundred years from now? Tell me in the comments! I'm really interested in what you guys think!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium (Book 1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 448
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 1, 2011

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
The thought of the eradication of love is almost unthinkable to most people today. But what happens when it becomes a necessary concept? Lena's mom was too late for the cure and she ended up taking her own life. Learning from her mother's mistake, Lena can't wait for the cure and live a happy, predestined life. But on the day of her procedure, a few outsiders disrupt it, one of them being Alex. Always being careful about the idea of love, Lena thinks that she is exempt from it but she falls in love with Alex, and the secrets he carries with him.

Intricately woven with rules, regulations, and restrictions, Delirium is a convincing read that delves into a dystopian society wherein love is looked down upon. The novel not only focuses on creating an established dystopian atmosphere, but it also aims to involve the inner workings of the concepts and ideas present in current societies. Oliver molds the the characters to fit the setting of the novel and also gives them opportunities to grow. Delirium forces readers the reader to completely immerse themselves Lena's world and question the rules and ways in which the society works.

Lena is such a strong character. Her tenacity and her instincts simply fly naturally off each page. She resonates with the reader extremely well because of her flaws and her mistakes, making her only more human and believable. Steadily, she grows from her naive, ignorant self into an aware, curious character. Her opinion of love changes slowly through her actions. As she gets more rebellious, she develops and is exposed to the realities of love and the other outsiders like Alex.

Lauren Oliver's writing, simply put, is poetically inspiring. Although Delirium is written in prose, the poetic, lyrical feel dominates and enhances the different elements in the story. Oliver writes intimately, and compels the reader to fully realize and empathize with the characters in the novel. The storyline develops consistently as readers are steadily merged into the world of Delirium and discover the secrets that lie in the society.

Delirium is a beautiful novel of discovery and really probes deeper into societal questions. It touches on the realities in the real world today and introduces readers to a whole new world. The many different insights and meaningful subtleties all make for an original, inspiring read.

The Bottom Line: I'm COMPLETELY delirious for Delirium!

---Field Report---
Originality: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 100/100 (A+) !!!This is one of the THIRTEEN books that hold the title: !!!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade (Book 1)
Author: Andrea Cremer
Pages: 454
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: October 19, 2010
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Justify FullNightshade is an elaborately-woven, gripping, paranormal romance held against a backdrop with the rich contrast of an intricate, otherworldly setting and an equally convincing context in the human world. Both worlds are discrepant to each other in some aspects, and similar in others. The relationships and the political dynamics in both environments are different, but the characters remain consistent in the entirety of the novel. The ancestry and realistically-portrayed descriptions of the characters and the hierarchy merge together to create a consistent ambiance, constant all throughout the book.

Fierce, loyal, and strong, Calla's personality is truly an alpha's. Her personality and mindset mirrors her stance as an alpha but her pre-destined union with Ren affects her in such a way that she carries a caged, constricted air around her that contradicts her nature as a werewolf. Calla's analyzing and authoritative, but she's also confused. Her selflessness and her loyalty to the pack is admirable but behind her well-put front, she's afraid of completely letting Ren or Shay in. Calla is a strong, rough, and frank; just like the characteristics of a werewolf. In Nighshade, Calla is both wolf and human. Both beings are truly a part of her.

Sexy, commanding, and unfailing, Ren embodies similar characteristics to Calla, embedded into his alpha nature. His tainted past leaves him careful, protective, and hardened underneath. Readers will be drawn to his seductive charisma and animalistic qualities and still percieve him as a deep, thoughtful, three-dimensional character. He's flawed, and has been hurt before, but there are moments wherein his more sensitive, sweeter side is highlighted.

(This is where the paragraph of Shay is supposed to be in. But I'm Team Ren *laughs evilly*)

Although fast-paced and action-packed, Nightshade isn't rushed. The details and nuances are naturally revealed and the descriptions only strengthen the plot even more. Even with so many characters, Cremer is able to give each individual his/her own distinct personality. Each character stays true to themselves through the entire novel.

Nightshade is an suspenseful start to a new, exciting series. The danger, the romance, the action, and the characters all pull together to create an absorbing world of deceit, lies, and passion. Cremer's debut will definitely impress readers and pull them into Nightshade's world. A stunning original debut.

The Bottom Line: Team Ren FOR THE WIN. *throws confetti*

---Field Report---
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 9/10
Setting: 4/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 95/100 (A+)

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