Monday, May 13, 2013

Sunday (Monday!) Sunshine: Rochester Teen Book Festival Edition, Part 1

Yikes!  What happened to this weekend?

Well, I know what happened.  I spent the whole darn thing hanging out with Mr. S, enjoying a weekend at home in a month full of travel.  We went to the mall, had a movie night double feature (Bring It On and Pitch Perfect, neither of which we had ever seen), had Mother's Day brunch with his parents and grandmother, ran errands, baked cookies, and I did a little driving practice (first time in the rain!)

...And then suddenly it was 10:30 Sunday night and I had to plan and grade and write my 300 words!  So, blogging got away from me.

That's ok, though, because I managed to finish an extra book that I can tell you about here!  All the books I read last week, and the ones I'm planning to read this week, are by authors who will be present at the Rochester Teen Book Festival this weekend!  I'm going with a few colleagues and students, plus of course the wonderful Mr. S (who is waking up wicked early on Saturday to drive me and a few of my kiddos to Rochester!) 

The lineup of authors is pretty amazing!  Luckily, the authors I want to see are matched up to the extent that, if I skip lunch, I can see every panel I'm interested in (well, except for the authors I was lucky enough to hear from at SCBWI in February!)

Just for fun, books I've read by authors who will be there:

Wither, Fever, and Sever by Lauren DeStefano
Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Crank, Glass, and Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
False Memory by Dan Krokos
Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Boy Meets Boy, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Every Day by David Levithan (and others)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
How To Save A Life, Story of a Girl, and Once Was Lost (aka What We Lost) by Sara Zarr

And the books I hope to add to that list by Saturday:
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

I probably won't get through them all (especially if I re-read Cinder, which I'm planning to) but that's the wishlist.  So many awesome authors!  I'll report back next week :)

And here are my thoughts on What I Read This Week:

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)Fever by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, this was a fast read! I was glad to find out more about Rhine and her world. As often happens with this kind of trilogy, I missed the relatively lovely (if sinister) setting of the first book, but I did eventually get sucked in by the new settings and characters introduced in this installment. There was at least one twist that left me gaping (not sure if I would have figured it out if I'd re-read Wither before diving in, but I certainly found it exciting and satisfying) and I downloaded the third book to my Kindle before I even finished this one.

Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)Sever by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This final book in the Chemical Garden trilogy provided a dark but satisfying ending to a series that really grew on me. I was completely engrossed in the world, and I loved the characters. Lauren DeStefano struck a great balance between developing older characters and introducing new ones as the series went along, and this installment was no exception. I have to say, by the end of the series, spoiled child-bride Cecily became hands-down my favorite character. She breaks my heart and makes me...proud? In a really twisted way? I don't know exactly how to describe it, but I completely loved her larger role in this book. I don't want to get too spoilery (difficult, when writing about the final book of a series) but I felt like the payoffs for characters and for the central issues really worked. I'll be very interested to see what DeStefano does next.

False Memory (False Memory, #1)False Memory by Dan Krokos
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book after a student recommended it to me. I'm glad I had that to keep me moving through the beginning, because while the action starts early in this book, it felt like the story took a while to really get going. There is a lot of setup here, which I imagine won't be present in the next book. But the second half of the book was definitely exciting and full of twists and turns. I think False Memory would appeal to some of my students who are more interested in action than relationships, as I found the characters to be a little flat. (Of course, in a book about a girl who's lost her memory, this is not necessarily a criticism! It's just that the plot here is, in my opinion, much more compelling than the characters.) I'm looking forward to reading the next installment and recommend this highly for anyone who likes a little sci-fi mixed into their explosions and hand-to-hand combat scenes.

View all my reviews


  1. That is an incredible lineup of authors! I'm reading DARK TRIUMPH right now, and I'm so jealous you get to hear Robin LaFevers speak! I hope you have an amazing time at the book festival and that you fill us in on all the details when you get back!

    1. I'm super-excited! The festival really snuck up on me, or I would have gotten a few more books read. But I'm crossing my fingers that there will be enough space for me in the panels I'm hoping to attend--since it's a teen book festival, students get priority seating. I think that's a great philosophy and I'm excited to spend a day around hundreds of book-obsessed teens, but it makes it a little dicey for me!

  2. You're going to have so much fun at the Book Festival! That's awfully nice of Mr. S to drive, too. :-) I'd love to check something like that out.

    I read WHITHER a few years back, but I still haven't gotten to the other two. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed them. That gives me the push I needed to give them a read now. But seriously, I kind of want to cry when I look at all the books on my TBR shelf in my office. I just want to sit and read for days, but obviously I can't. Ah, well. ;-)

    1. Yeah, I showed my students the list of what I had left to read, and they were like, "Oh, you're not working tomorrow, right? Just read all day!" I said yeah, but chores, and being an adult, and stuff...but then of course I did actually spend all day today reading! Got through Sweethearts and Cinder, and I'll start Scarlet tonight. Chores can wait, right?


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