Posts Tagged 'Meg Cabot'

Top Ten Tuesday – More Books Please!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.  A lot of blogs I follow also play along, so I’ve decided to join.  Hopefully it’ll be a fun easy way to start blogging again.

This week is Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book.

1.  J.K. Rowling – I’m pretty sure she’s on everyone’s list, and honestly I don’t know if anything else she would write would live up to HP7, but I’m willing to take that risk.

2.  Meg Cabot – Ok, Meg Cabot’s pretty busy still writing books, but honestly I’d love more Allie Finkle.  I think she’s done with #6 and that makes me sad.

3.  Michelle Cooper – Have you all read A Brief History of Montmaray and The FitzOsbornes in Exile yet?  Do it!

4. (Avert your eyes Jen!!!)  Stephanie Perkins – Isla and the Happily Ever After has been pushed back to 2013 to make a better novel, which I respect, but I sure wish it were easier to pop out more books.

5.  Jon Scieszka & Lane SmithThe Stinky Cheese Man, Math Curse, Squids Will Be Squids, etc.  Together is where they belong.  Collaborate more often!

6.  Rick Riordan – He’s practically as prolific as Patterson (when you remove the co-writers), and we’ve established his books are candy.  I wouldn’t mind getting cavities for more Percy Jackson.

7.  Ally Carter – I am officially declaring Ally Carter the female Rick Riordan.  In that her books are also like candy.  More Gallagher Girls and Heist Society please!

8.  Melanie Watt – I’m pretty sure if there were 100 books about Scaredy Squirrel, I would read them ALL.

Hmm, well that’s only 8, but since it’s my first Top Ten, I deem that ok.

What would you put on your list?

– Jill

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Abandon: The Negative

As Lindsay mentioned in her previous post about Meg Cabot’s Abandon, I was not a fan.  I figured instead of adding a lengthy comment on her post, I’d write my own.  So this post is about my reasons for disliking a book by Meg Cabot.

**SPOILER WARNING**

If you have not yet read Abandon, continue at your own risk.  I may (will probably) include some spoilers, so if you haven’t read it and are ok with that, then carry on.  However, I encourage you to run to your local library or a bookstore, read it for yourself and form your own opinions, and then read Lindsay’s post, then mine, and let us know what you think.

I’m not going to rewrite a summary when Lindsay already did that, so let’s just jump into it.

Ok, first of all, I had a HUGE problem with the way it was written.  The plot jumps around and is not told chronologically.  Some things are mentioned that happened earlier and it really confused me.  For example, when Pierce returns Mr. Smith’s phone call, it’s just tossed in there and it only took me a second read through to understand that it had happened EARLIER but she was mentioning it later.  I don’t know why it couldn’t have just been mentioned before whatever was happening when it was thrown in.  Another time this happened and confused me had something to do with Pierce and her mother talking to a guidance counselor and her necklace.  It still kind of confuses me, so sorry if that doesn’t make sense.

Another thing that really annoyed me was all of the cliffhangers.  Especially the ones that seem to start with “If I had known…”  Like If I had known this would be the last time I’d see John, I would have asked him some questions.  That is totally not a quote- I don’t have the copy of the book anymore.  Sorry.  Hopefully you know what I mean.  It seemed to be repeated all the time, and it got old.

The last big problem I have with it is the affair with the teacher.  Yes, I know sometimes, unfortunately, this happens in real life but I feel like this is a weird trend in YA books.  It annoys me that teachers get portrayed this way in books when that negative view always seems to beat out positive teacher role models in books.  And I am suddenly blanking on any positive teachers.  Oh wait!  Mr. G in Princess Diaries.  Ok, good.  Anyway, between this, TTYL, and Pretty Little Liars, there’s a lot of bad teachers out there.  So it bothered me to see another.  By the way, I swear I read a blog post within the last few months about this trend in YA lit but I have no idea which blog that was.  Anybody remember it?  Help!

Also, I do agree with Lindsay and her reasons not to like the story- John and Pierce’s “love” is weird to me too.  She repeatedly does the “Why would he like ME?” thing, which can be annoying.  I read a blog post about female characters that do that too much too.  Again, can’t remember where.  I need to save these or something.  If you read that and remember where, please let me know so I can reread it and link to it!

I don’t understand what’s going on with Uncle Chris or Alex either.  I assume that will be fleshed out later, but it was kind of frustrating to never find out.  Oh, I also disliked the rich kids using Pierce just for her house so they could hide the coffin.  I’m sad her mom fell for that.

Even though I didn’t like it, I might read the next one when it comes out.  Maybe.

– Jill

Abandon: Let’s Talk About It

*Warning**If you’re reading this in google reader, the jump doesn’t show up for some reason. It does on the wordpress site, so if you don’t want to be spoiled for Abandon, I suggest you click on over to the site 🙂 https://nerdgirltalking.wordpress.com/
Howdy y’all!

Being stuck in the middle of the cicada apocalypse has done wonders for my reading habits. By coating the outside world, the cicadas have pretty much ensured that I no longer go outside, which means that I have ample time for reading! Last night I read Abandon by Meg Cabot. I know, I know. It’s been out for like forever, but I finally just got around to reading it. It is really not like me to let a Meg Cabot book go unread for so long, but it happened.

This past weekend I was talking to fellow Nerdgirl Amber (in her new house!! YAY!) and she told me that our other fellow Nerdgirls, Jill and Jen, DIDN’T like Abandon! I realize that I have been very neglectful of Twitter lately and so I am v. v. sad to have missed out on this – I promise I will not let my Twitter checking lapse again! But anyways, after reading the book, I might just maybe be able to see why they didn’t like the book. I will go on the record as saying that I DID like the book. I mean, I didn’t LOVE LOVE LOVE it like The Princess Diaries or Teen Idol or anything, but I will probably reread it again and will totally be buying the rest of the series as it comes out (but then again, one of my personal goals is to own every single book written by Meg Cabot, sooooooo…).

I feel like this picture sums up why I want Meg as one of my BFFs.

So let’s see…I should probably give you a summary of what the book is about, right? You should know by now that Abandon is a retelling of the myth of Persephone. Or rather, not exactly a retelling, more like.. I don’t know? More like Abandon was inspired by the myth. Or at least that’s how I feel. I do remember reading the Persephone myth way back in the day, and even though I couldn’t tell you exact details, I could tell you a general overview that I feel would be pretty correct. As I read Abandon, I couldn’t help but feel that if it was a retelling, it wasn’t being super true to the original myth. For those of you who haven’t read the book, I’m not going to tell you why because that would be pretty spoilery. Let’s just say that I thought it was more like, oh yeah, I can see what part of the myth you used there.

But back to the summary – Persephone. Underworld. It’s not spoiling anything to tell you that when Pierce Oliviera was 15, she died. But she was brought back to life through CPR and those shocky thingies the EMTs use to restart a person’s heart. You know what I’m talking about. I’m having a total brain fart right now. Seriously, what are those thingies called? Jumpers? Whatever. So Pierce got another chance at life. Now she’s 17 and after an unfortunate event at her prestigious all-girl’s school in Connecticut, Pierce moves with her mother to Isle Huesos to start over again. However Isla Huesos is where Pierce met John for the first time. The second time she met him was in the Underworld after she died. I think we all can guess who John is in the “re-telling”.

Ok, that’s enough for the summary. I tend to get really spoilery if I let myself go on and on and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. So from here on out, I’m doing that linky thingy again that I did for Jen and I’s joint post about Anna and the French Kiss :). So if you’ve read Abandon already or your name is Amber and you like to ignore these warnings, go ahead and click on the jump!

Pissed Off

Oh, wow am I pissed. I’m so pissed off I don’t even want to use cutesy exclamation marks to illustrate how pissed off I am. Why am I pissed off? Have you read the article that the Wall Street Journal did about Jennifer Egan? No? Here you go. Don’t want to click on the link? Here’s the part that pissed me off. The bold is the WSJ’s question, and the part in italics is Egan’s response.

  • Over the past year, there’s been a debate about female and male writers and how they come off in the press. Franzen made clear that “Freedom” was going to be important, while others say that Allegra Goodman was too quiet about “The Cookbook Collector.” Do you think female writers have to start proclaiming, “OK, my book is going to be the book of the century”?
  • Anyone can say anything, that’s easy. My focus is less on the need for women to trumpet their own achievements than to shoot high and achieve a lot. What I want to see is young, ambitious writers. And there are tons of them. Look at “The Tiger’s Wife.” There was that scandal with the Harvard student who was found to have plagiarized. But she had plagiarized very derivative, banal stuff. This is your big first move? These are your models? I’m not saying you should say you’ve never done anything good, but I don’t go around saying I’ve written the book of the century. My advice for young female writers would be to shoot high and not cower.

Did you not see what part I am pissed about? Here it is again: There was that scandal with the Harvard student who was found to have plagiarized. But she had plagiarized very derivative, banal stuff. This is your big first move? These are your models?

Jennifer Egan is not upset that Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarized. She’s upset that Viswanathan chose to plagiarize authors who wrote “chick lit” and YA. Apologies to Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Megan McCafferty and Salman Rushdie (ugh, Rushdie, he’s the worst of the bunch, am I right?) – you guys just don’t write the kind of literature worth reading, I guess. I hope you just read that last sentence and heard my voice dripping with sarcasm. Because that’s how I typed it.

I am actually double pissed off because I wanted to read “A Visit from the Goon Squad”. I heard it was a bit science fictiony which is right up my alley. But now I won’t be reading that book. Or any other book by Egan. You could say that I’m being petty and close minded, and you could wonder why this even really matters to me. The biggest reason that this really pisses me off is that she insinuates that someone like Meg Cabot (and the others) should not be looked to as a role model. Really? Jennifer Egan, have you even MET Meg? Have you ever read one of her books? I’m willing to bet that she has done neither. Because how could you meet Meg and then call her work banal or derivative? I don’t care if you think those things, Meg is so nice that saying those things are almost like kicking a puppy. Congrats, Jennifer Egan, you just kicked a puppy. Now I’m not saying that Meg Cabot is a defenseless little puppy. She knows how to defend herself. Just check out her blog entry, The Princess Thing. Meg defends her belief that princesses are awesome (true) while not slamming anybody who believes differently. That’s class. Meg should do a workshop where she teaches girls and women how to embrace their inner princess and Jennifer Egan should attend. Actually, Meg, can you do this for real? I will totally come even though I’ve already embraced my inner princess.

But seriously, the thing is, I can’t help but feel personally insulted by Jennifer Egan because Meg is one of my literary role models. You can say what you want about her books but the truth is is that a reader only gets what he or she puts in to their reading. Are there terrible authors? Probably. Can I think of any right now? No. Some people would probably say that Stephenie Meyer or Dan Brown were terrible writers, but the reality is that these authors are incredibly popular and they definitely have their market nailed down. And so does Meg. Actually, Meg writes across the board too! She has books for adults, teens, AND children. Plus there’s some science fiction and paranormal thrown in too. She writes EVERYTHING (that I can think of at the moment…Meg probably hasn’t covered EVERYTHING there is to write about..yet).

I think Jennifer Egan assumed (or probably didn’t even think about at all) that everyone who would enjoy her book would only enjoy that type of fiction. But I think that a lot of people, myself included, read all different types of books. And when an author slams another genre it says nothing good about them. And when you slam a group of authors who are incredibly popular with the YA crowd, such as Cabot and McCafferty, you are going to suffer a lot of backlash. Because if there’s anything we know it’s that the younger crowd rules the internet, and therefore the world.

So Jennifer? Next time you give an interview, try not to stick your foot in your mouth. You’re better than that, I hope.

Oh, and also?

DON’T EVER MESS WITH MICHAEL AGAIN. EVER.

Huggles, Lindsay

My Top Ten Young Adult Novels – Jill

I’ve been working on my list for a few days, and I think I finally have it ready.  My list, like Jen’s, includes my favorite books, not necessarily what I think every teen should read or whatever – although I’m a big fan of every one of these, so in a way I do think everyone should read them.  🙂

Here we go…

10. Graceling/Fire by Kristin Cashore
Sometimes I get these two books confused because they’re sort of related but not really.  Fire is a companion book, not a sequel. Both books had compelling plots, strong female main characters, great male love interests, and different but realistic worlds.

9. Life As We Knew It – Susan Beth Pfeffer
This is a book that REALLY sticks with you after you’ve finished reading.  And while you’re reading, it’s hard to put down because you want to know what’s going to happen.  I love that the plot starts out just like any other day that could happen now, but as soon as the moon is hit and pushed out of orbit, everything falls apart.  Probably the best sci-fi books are the ones that *could* actually really happen.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I have never heard a bad thing from anyone who has read this.

8. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
For me, this series was perfect for attempting to fill the massive void left when Harry Potter ended.  I love books where I learn something while reading without realizing it!  I kept getting on Wikipedia to look up gods and other things from Greek Mythology.  The whole Percy Jackson series rocks, but this one might have been my favorite because it tied up everything and brought some satisfaction.

7. Forever Princess – Meg Cabot
It’s been too long since I’ve read this.  It was awesome and wrapped up the whole series exactly the way we all wanted.  I don’t think I could say it all any better than Jen did.  But I know what you’re thinking: Why isn’t this one higher?  Well, I guess that’s a testament to how much I love the top 6.

6. The Arrival – Shaun Tan
So here’s where I start to get into the fuzzy “Is this a YA book?” area.  Yes, it’s a graphic novel, but it’s still usually considered a young adult book, so I’m including it.  Because it’s my list.  🙂  This book rocks SO MUCH.  Amber and I were assigned it in one of our classes in grad school (though I think it was Children’s Lit but whatever).  I read it one day, and the next I had gone out and bought myself a copy.  The illustrations are GORGEOUS, and I love the sepia colors.  The story is also incredible, and since it’s entirely wordless, it allows readers to interpret the details themselves.

5. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
I promise I did not look at Jen’s list before I made my own.  It just so happens that we love the same books because they’re awesome.  What can I say about this book that we haven’t already said on this blog?  I’ve reread The Hunger Games, which is kind of a big deal since I don’t make much time for rereading, and I read it just as quickly the second time as I did the first.

4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare
Ah, now we’re getting into the books I loved growing up.  There are a lot of books I loved that have not made the list because I haven’t reread them lately to know whether they still stand up (ex. The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi…LOOOOVED this book like 10 years ago but haven’t read it since).  BUT I did reread The Witch of Blackbird Pond last weekend, and it was just as good as I remembered.  A great strong female character + an extremely lovable male character (oh, Nat…) + historical fiction = winner for Jill!

3. Princess Mia – Meg Cabot
Ah ha, look, more Meg!  Now you’re probably wondering why is  book 9 higher than book 10?
Princess Mia was such a great book for me.  I just loved it.  I don’t think I’ve read it since, but I REALLY want to right now.  I loved the relate-able Mia was.  Really, who hasn’t felt like that before?  I know some people don’t like it because she’s depressed and things are terrible and Michael’s hardly in it, but Mia really pulls herself together in this book and has to truly figure out who she is since the guy she’s in love with is gone and her best friend is being AWFUL.  Whenever I’m upset about something, I should just reread this book.  It’s like therapy.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
Again, I made my list independently of Jen. Promise!  Obviously I love the whole series, and I’m not even 100% sure this is my favorite, but it’s so….fitting for the finale.  It has suspense, actual deaths, reminders that even though it’s just a book, things are not all light and fluffy.  There were so many ways she could have ended it, and honestly after awhile I wasn’t sure how it was going to, but the way it ended is perfect.  Plus, every time I read it, I’m pretty sure I cry through all of the final chapters.

1. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
Not entirely sure this is considered YA, but darn it, it’s my all-time favorite book and it’s one of those borderline books, so I’m including it!  I have read this book more times than any other, mostly because I used to reread it annually.  If you’ve never read it, it’s a fun mystery…sort of like The 39 Clues only way better and less multi-volumed.  I’m not doing this book justice at all.  Please just know that it’s AWESOME and you should read it NOW!  🙂

[Oh, and fun tidbit about me and this book.  I interviewed for a job once at the place where the manuscript (the REAL MANUSCRIPT with Ellen Raskin’s HANDWRITTEN NOTES) is kept and studied.  When I realized this, I was convinced this was a sign, and I was going to get the job (which felt like my dream job), but alas I did not.  But I still love the book.  Maybe that tells you how much I like it.  …And, you know, things have worked out in the job area, so it’s ok now anyway.]

– Jill

My Top Ten Young Adult Novels

I am fully aware that the following list will horrify most librarians.  There isn’t a real award winner in sight and every book has come out in the last five years (I didn’t actually check, but I am assuming that is true).  Also, they are really popular titles.

This is the list that I submitted to Persnickety Snark.  The post describing the poll does specifically say “favorite” books, which I took literally.  I completely understand that these are not the ten BEST YA books ever, but they are certainly my favorite.

Now, there is an absence of classics (no Judy Blume or anything like that) because I just didn’t read YA until I went to grad school!!  Also, the what most people consider to be the “best” YA book ever is one of the books that I loathe the most (stupid Holden Caulfield….I would totally punch him in the face if I met him on the street…..big whiner baby).

So without further ado, here are my favorite young adult novels…….you’ve been warned.

10.  Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock–I love this book even more now that I have read all three.  It feels like such a realistic story to me (even the this-could-never-happen final football game).  And I love that fact that it is set on a dairy farm.  I pretend now that all of the milk I drink comes from Schwenk Farm.

9.  Chalice by Robin McKinley–I think I am including this on the list because I felt so accomplished after I finished it.  It was tough going at the beginning, but by the end I was ripping through it to see what happened.  And the Master is totally one of my favorite guy characters ever.  He is smokin’!  (Okay, that is a really lame joke that nobody would get unless they read the book.)

8.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman–I love this book because it has a mind-blowing concept.  Not only that, but Mr. Shusterman knows what to do with it and doesn’t let the book lose steam at all.  Great plot, great characters.  Also, now that I’ve read this book, I look at certain kids and say, “Man, they would have totally been unwound…”  Yeah, I’m cruel like that.

7.  Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle–You might have noticed that most of these books (probably all of them) are ones I have mentioned on this blog before.  There are very few books I get more pleasure out of reading than this one.  I don’t think I need to justify it more than that.  JUBILEE!!!

6.  Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer–I literally kept thinking about this book for several weeks after I finished it.  It was so haunting and perfect.  Now that it’s already out, I am disappointed that there was a sequel about Miranda.  I really loved the vagueness of the first book’s ending (something I usually hate).  This book also caused me to eat lettuce for a month, even though I hate lettuce.

5.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman–I loved this book so much.  This is another one that made me really think.  I cared about the characters so much and cried though the last half of the book.  Oh, man this was fantastic!  Am super pissed that there is going to be a book two……really?  Sometimes people need to look authors in the face and say, “Hell to the No!”

4.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins–I totally had a conversation with this book while I was reading it.  Throughout the course of the novel I continually said things like, “WHAT!!!  OH NO!!!  DON”T DO THAT KATNISS!!!  Awwww, Peeta!  WHAT!!!”  I even did a little bit of talking the second time through as well.

3.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling–I like the sixth book better than the seventh book, but I think that the final one needs to be recognized on this list.  The HP books were such huge events in my life, and there was nothing better than getting on the phone with my sister and my dad after finishing this one.  Other books since the HPs have offered similar bonding opportunities, but none of them as strong as this one.

2.  Twilight by Stephenie Meyer–I will admit it, I love Twilight.  I adore the books.  I literally have to hold myself back from reading them every other week.  I can’t explain why I adore them, especially since I have so many problems with them (creepy stalker Edward, whiny Bella, etc.), but they will always have a special place in my heart.  (Moment of honesty here: I totally wanted to put Breaking Dawn on here in place of Twilight, but I was too embarrassed.)

1.  Forever Princess by Meg Cabot–This is my favorite young adult book because it is literally the perfect end to a wonderful series.  Meg Cabot knew exactly what her fans wanted and she gave it to them.  (Authors take note: we like this!!!!!)  I think I have read this book 4 (maybe 5?) times.  It’s my favorite because it is everything I want a YA novel to be: happy, frothy, funny, romantic, and with a happy ending.  I don’t usually go in for angst, drugs, dead people, or too much relationship drama (but sometimes I make exceptions: see above).

So there you go, that’s my list.  Just writing this made me want to run to my shelves and reread all of these books.  Then I realized that I only own six of them!  Eeeep!  To the bookstore!

Jen

P.S.  You may think from looking at this list that I place HP below Twilight and The Princess Diaries.  This is not true.  When taking the series as a whole, Harry Potter is always first for me, followed by Twilight and TPD tied for second.

MEG CABOT TWITTER PARTY!

AHHHHH YOU CAN TALK TO MEG CABOT ANNNND WIN AN IPAD!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!

hmmm important decision to make: will I try to watch Project Runway Finale (GO SETH AARON!) and twitter at the same time?! or shall I let project runway sit unwatched for a half hour so I can focus all my attention on saying witty girly things that will win me Meg Cabot’s praise and a prize?! i do love prizes…

Meg Cabot Twitter Party!

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