Tag: ALA 2015

ARC Illumination: Everything, Everything (2015) by Nicola Yoon

ARC Illumination: Everything, Everything (2015) by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Random House Children's Books on September 3rd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Family, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Goodreads
five-stars

Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

Happy August, readers! The blog has been on a bit of a hiatus due to my pretty busy teaching load this summer, but I’m happy to say that I’m gradually returning back. I have loads of books to tell you about, and I’m sure you’re also anxious about getting Part 2 of my ALA recap! I’m eager to post it. More updates coming soon, but first, I must tell you about Everything, Everything!

What an impressive and beautiful book. Many of my friends on Twitter and Goodreads had been raving about this one, and the unique premise (along with the cover) really drew me to this debut. I was thankful to pick up a Print ARC at ALA, and I was almost jumping for joy at getting a matching tote. Upon arriving home, this is one of the first books I picked up, and without further ado, let’s get to my thoughts on this September release YA!

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What I Loved:

The creative narrative structure: Drawings, e-mails, air quality reports, and chat room dialogues pepper the narrative of Everything, Everything and I loved it! I think this creativity added a depth and richness to the story that wouldn’t have been achieved without these unique additions.

The voice of the MC: Maddy is endearing, curious, and sometimes fearful. But she’s willing to take a risk on her next door neighbor, Olly. And the fact is, “He’s not safe. He’s not familiar. He’s in constant motion. He’s the biggest risk I’ve ever taken.” Of course, we cheer Maddy on, and though this isn’t a thriller, I feel like I was on the edge of my seat waiting for this couple to get together. Would Olly brave the air lock room and the decontamination in order to see Maddy, who’s allergic to almost everything in the outside world? Well, you’ll just have to read to find out…

The depiction of conflict: Every relationship, if it’s an authentic and close one, will endure conflict of some sort. That’s what happens when people are real with one another. Whether it’s between Maddy and her mom or Maddy and Olly, the dialogue, emails, and chat transcripts in the book illuminate the ups and downs of these connections. As Maddy is growing up, and eventually trying to hide her connection with Olly from her mother, she inevitably drifts apart from her mother in order to make her own way in the world. It’s astounding, in some ways, thinking about how much Maddy is missing in her life just due to the fact that she is confined to a very small space, and isn’t allowed outside. Or…she might die. Her mother and her “nurse” are the two people she mostly sees everyday. Until Olly comes along—the boy next door. Then, everything changes. Everything. But this change is good. Even though the changes that ensue are painful at times, they prove to be the best kind of changes that happen for Maddy.

Illuminations of Spirituality:

Madeleine gradually opens up to the idea of love in her life—romantic love, that is, and it takes an immense amount of courage for her to do so. But Olly is such a sensitive friend to Madeleine, and he seems to understand her fears and trepidation. I think this reflects a spiritual aspect of the book in that it highlights the way people make room for our weaknesses and fears—true friends will understand that sometimes it’s a journey for a relationship to blossom. Nurturing has to take place, and when we’re in tune with the spiritual part of our selves—that aspect that is in tune to other people’s unvoiced fears, we can be more sensitive in our connections and interactions. The book really dives into the characters—Madeleine, her Mother, Olly—the result is a beautiful character driven story that illuminates the power and magic of love. Also: of growing up. Growing up is an essential part of life, and for Madeleine, it brings some pain. Especially in relation to discoveries she makes. No spoilers here, but there are some painful points in the story. It’s realistic in that it depicts the ups and downs of figuring out who you are and what you want right in the middle of some of the most confusing years: the teenage ones.

“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.”

“You can’t predict the future. It turns out that you can’t predict the past either. Time moves in both directions – forward and backward – and what happens here and now changes them both.”

Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything.”

Who Should Read This Book:

Readers who enjoy young adult contemporaries would most assuredly enjoy this novel featuring a protagonist with a unique medical condition. It’s character driven, yes, but there are plenty of significant interactions, even a tropical vacation, what’s not to love about Maddy and Olly? I know I’ll be thinking about these characters for a long time, and that ending was just perfect!

The Final Illumination:

One thing I love about this book (among other things) is the cover! Isn’t it stunning? What a wonderful choice on the part of the cover designers because it seems (to me) to encapsulate part of the story’s theme. Where once life was dull with very little change and variety, new relationships can open up dimension and depth and detail and color…

What did you think of Everything, Everything? Are you planning on reading it when it releases in September? Drop by my Twitter account where I’ll have a Preorder Giveaway going on for the book!

five-stars
What Katie Read

ALA Recap! (Part I) Annual Convention 2015: San Francisco

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The Illuminae Stairs!

Sit back and imagine. A visit to San Francisco. Sunny weather. Books. ARCs. Authors you love. Librarians. Blogging friends. Crepes. Blue Bottle Coffee.

It’s the perfect vacation, right? That’s what I thought! Welcome to my American Library Association Annual Convention 2015 recap!IMG_7651

ALA was fantastic! Traveling to San Francisco, meeting blogger friends, chatting with publicists, and meeting authors made it an absolutely wonderful extended weekend. I’m so glad I took the time to drive to San Francisco and see what the whole ALA Annual Convention experience was all about.

I’m going to have to divide up this recap into several parts because there’s just too much to talk about. First, let’s talk about those BOOKS and AUTHOR SIGNINGS!

Learning the Ropes of ALA & Author Signings:

I’d never been to ALA or BEA before, so this was a real treat visiting the booths of major publishers of children’s, young adult, and adult literature, as well as some of the smaller and independent ones. Saturday morning, some of us book bloggers were hanging out together near the front of the crowd, ready to go, and when those security guards stepped aside, we stormed them! Just kidding—we actually didn’t—but we did walk pretty quickly to the Bloomsbury booth, which ended up being a little too crowded so we sauntered down to Disney instead. At the Disney Booth, the publicists were extremely friendly, and though I was disappointed they didn’t have ARCs of Passenger, they did have some other titles that were on my list! Over the three days, these are the titles I acquired from Disney. Many thanks to their awesome publicists!!

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Titles include: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston, Black Widow by Margaret Stohl, Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis, Hunter by Mercedes Lackey, Out of Abation: The Wooden Prince by John Claude Bemis, Starflight by Melissa Landers, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code by Heidi Schulz, Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty, and Odd Aquaticum by Alistair Grim.

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The Harper booth became a place all of us book bloggers frequented often! Of course, Saturday morning included the RAE CARSON SIGNING and you know that this was one of the very events I attended ALA for. I was too star struck to get a photo but it was utterly fabulous to meet Rae, and have her sign my ARC of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER. I’m happy to say I will gladly attend more book events where she’s signing and/or speaking.

Over the the next three days of the event, we returned to the Harper Booth for either signings or to chat with publicists about certain titles. I’m happy to say that I returned with a wonderful selection of books I’m super excited about reading and reviewing for the fall. Two titles that I had been hoping I would nab included A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis and THIS MONSTROUS THING by Mackenzie Lee.

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There were two sides to the exhibit hall at Moscone and so we would hop back and forth for signings or for just browsing and chatting with people. Sometimes we stayed together in a group and sometimes we went our own separate ways.

That’s the beauty of ALA—you can always meet again later for lunch or coffee, or rendezvous for an author signing…such as the Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows signing on Saturday afternoon! That line was insanely long, but we managed to be near the beginning as we showed up pretty early. I had never seen Leigh before, and it was a joy to meet her and have her sign my ARC of Six of Crows. I am very excited about this one!

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How can I not tell you about meeting Ann M. Martin, one of my favorite childhood authors, the beloved writer of THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB!?!?! Yes, she was at ALA signing several books, including RAIN, REIGN and also THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB Graphic Novel. I had seen her speak for the first time last fall at the Boston Book Festival, but this was the first time I actually met her in person, and it was FANTASTIC!! I think I read every single one of The Babysitter’s Club books as they were coming out, all of the Super Specials, and all of the Mystery editions as well.

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Since two of my favorites books (I have taught both of them in my college level Children’s Literature course) are the graphic novels of Brian Selznick, you can imagine I was pretty excited for the signing in the Scholastic Booth on Sunday. I showed up pretty early because I knew that line was going to be long. I had with me my hardback copy of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET and I was given an ARC of THE MARVELS. It is AMAZING!! And Brian signed both my books. I also got to tell him about an article I wrote about Hugo Cabret that appeared in an issue of Bookbird, and so I was happy about that. I knew that someone with that level of talent and imagination just had to be a fabulous person, and I could tell he is! I have a few photos to share with you. The first photo is a bit blurry–sorry about that!

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Of course, I can’t end Part I of this recap without telling you how amazing it was to meet Anthony Doerr, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE! I adore this book, and when I discovered that Anthony would be there signing finished hard copies, I was beyond excited. Sydney and Vanessa were awesome enough to get in line early, and I joined them soon after. The line grew to around 300 people and then they cut it off. Thankfully we were not too far back, so we didn’t have to wait a terribly long time, though we didn’t mind. Anthony spoke to each person and gave them a personalized signature! I chatted with him about being left-handed (I noticed he was) and I don’t think I’ll ever forget meeting this kind and sensitive author. I’m definitely due for a re-read of the novel. If you haven’t read it, get to your calendar/planner now, and plan to read this amazing book!

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That’s all for Part I of my recap. Stay tuned for Part II, with topics ranging from the bookish friends I met in San Francisco to more books I picked up to other fun adventures!!

 

 

What Katie Read
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