I know the Cybils YA winner and you don't! Unless you are @mosylu @elvenjaneite @writersrepublic @sheltheprof or @silversteinela. Great job!
— Jackie Parker (@interactiver) February 9, 2013
It's true! The winner has been selected, and it's an awesome book that I highly, highly recommend...once you find out what it is on February 14th!
And somehow, despite the fact that we are in all different time zones and our conversation was only virtual, several of my fellow judges and I all managed to get the same cold! (So I guess if you hate our choice you can blame it on our collective medicated haze. But you won't hate it. Because it's brilliant.)
Anyway, something you can definitely blame on my cold is my continuing lack of SCBWI updates. I have so many business cards to look through, and quotes from speeches that made me go, "Yes! That!" So, there's plenty to look forward to here in the days to come.
I've been working on compliments for the February Compliment Challenge! Thanks to those of you who have joined in and/or spread the word--if you haven't, why not start now?
Wednesday, February 6th: I complimented a trivia teammate on his 11th-hour recognition of a nearly inaudible clip from The Ring.
Thursday, February 7th: I tweeted at NPR blogger Linda Holmes, to let her know how much I adore the podcast she's part of, Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Friday, February 8th: I complimented another teacher in the faculty room on her cute blue sweater.
Saturday, February 9th:
@elvenjaneite @mosylu @interactiver @sheltheprof @writersrepublic I had a great time!Talking books with smart folks--what's not to love?Sunday, February 10th: While I compliment Mr. S on a daily basis, I decided I would only count one compliment to him for this challenge. Today I complimented his excellent chicken noodle soup (made from the carcass of the delicious roast chicken he made last night). It was the kind of soup that you can immediately feel restoring your health.
— Jessica Silverstein(@SilversteinEla) February 9, 2013
And finally, here's What I Read This Week:
The List by Siobhan Vivian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As flashy and of-the-moment as this book's premise is (a high school where every fall an anonymous list names the prettiest and ugliest girls in each grade), this was actually kind of a slow-burning story. The eight girls--four "pretty", four "ugly--have very different reactions to the list, as do their friends. Those stories are interwoven and braided together, and we see each girl for a fairly short amount of time. But the characters Siobhan Vivian has created each have moments of startling familiarity, and I really wanted to understand where each one was coming from. I think a definite benefit of the eight main characters is that every woman and girl reading this will recognize something of herself in at least one. For me, standouts included the most painful, true depiction of what it's like to shop for clothes when you're a teenager who wears a double-digit size (and what someone's "helpful comment" can do to you in that situation), and the realization that it's ok to define yourself by your strengths and talents rather than by your love life. I know other people will find other scenes that make them go, "Yes--this. I remember this."
There were a few characters, though, who I wanted to know a little better. I was most curious about the mother of the formerly-homeschooled "prettiest" sophomore, a sweet and sheltered girl named Lauren. It's clear that her mother has more going on than we are privy to, and the relationship between mother and daughter was fraught and strange. There are also two pairs of sisters--in each case, one on the list and one not--both of whom have a rough go of it. I would love to hear the next chapters in their stories.
But really, "I wanted more" is hardly a complaint, now, is it? I recommend this to anyone who wants something a little new and different, or who wants a contemporary YA that focuses more on identity and self-discovery than on romance.
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Feed by M.T. Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is another re-read for my class. I have to admit, the first time I read it, it wasn't my favorite. Upon re-reading, though, I really appreciated the use of the clips from the Feed to lightly sketch the global backdrop against which all the shopping and partying took place. That made the story much more powerful, as it put me more solidly in poor Violet's position, trying to get anyone to understand that they are simply fiddling while Rome burns. And, you know, also voice out the wazoo.
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Also read, for Cybils: