I’ve Moved!

After much thought and consideration, I have decided to stop posting on this blog. 

HOWEVER, I haven’t stopped blogging. I have just changed directions. 

The Printed YA Word was started as a YA book review blog…nothing more would be added to it. But over time, I found myself wanting to blog about other things and not just about book reviews. So, instead of revamping The Printed YA Word, I decided to just create a new blog that had been on my mind for quite some time.

Thus, Books and Burlap was born. My new blog not only will contain book reviews (mostly YA, but some other genres thrown in as well), but it will also have other features (go take a look to find out what those are! Please?)

I can’t bring myself to “get rid of” The Printed YA Word, so it will continue to be here…I just won’t be posting on it. I know, I know, it’s super sad (at least to me), but I needed to change my blogging direction and this is the best way (I think) to do so. I hope my followers will continue to follow me on Books and Burlap. Thank you all for the follows, likes, comments, and messages…I truly appreciate it all.

goodbye

 

Review: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

In Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school — and must discover resources she never knew she had.

One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.

(Description from Goodreads)

FINAL GRADE: Arating

First of all, can we just gawk at how awesome this title is? It’s incredibly strong. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your ASS! I really want to shout it over and over again. In fact, I did while I was reading it (the best part was when I would read it during my down time at work, because students thought it was great I kept saying “ass” – I can’t get in trouble for it if it’s a title of a book!) Aside from the fantastic book title, I really enjoyed this book. There were a few things that I wasn’t a fan of, but there were very few of those. I’ll start with those first.

One thing I wasn’t a fan of were the side stories that were featured. I understand how the side stories were there to show the reader how Piddy grows as a teenager during this difficult time, but at the same time, it ended up making me lose my focus of the main storyline several times. Going off of the side stories, I wasn’t a fan of Piddy’s childhood friend. The two were separated when they changed schools, so they didn’t see each other much. okay, I get that; I don’t get to see my best friend nearly as much as I would like to. However, I don’t understand the fact that they drifted apart because they didn’t stay in contact. Obviously it wasn’t that strong of a friendship to begin with then.

On to the good things about this book, because there were many. I LOVED Piddy’s character, but there were a few times I wanted to shake her and scream, “WAKE UP AND TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS!” when it came to the bullying that was taking place. Bullying in high school is a terrible thing to endure, but those being bullied should never have to feel like they are alone. I sympathized with Piddy quite frequently throughout the book. While I never went through bullying quite like what she went through, I understand what it’s like to BE bullied. Piddy was a fantastic character that I really enjoyed. Meg Medina did an amazing job with her characters in this book; even Yaqui, who I absolutely hated, was such a well-written character.

The plot and the actions that occur throughout are incredibly believable. Apparently Yaqui hates Piddy because she shakes her butt too much when she walks and she thinks Piddy wants her boyfriend. Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because it is. However, it’s something that could absolutely happen in high school. Hormones do crazy things to a teen’s mind and if a girl feels threatened by another girl, she’ll come up with any reason to hate her. Working in a high school setting, I see it all the time. Thankfully, I never see any action take place between the feuding sides; however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. So, yes, the action in this book was incredibly realistic and pretty true to what could happen for real.

I will say that I was truly upset by one thing that happened in the book. There were several moments that made my eyes almost bug out of my head, but when (highlight to see spoiler) Yaqui beats up Piddy outside of her own home and Yaqui’s friends record it and post it online, I had to put the book down while reading in the car for a little bit (another point to make about how awesome this book was…I NEVER read in the car). Again, an incredibly realistic, though over-the-top, scene that could most definitely happen in a fit of hormonal teenage rage.

I have read several books about bullying that were either unrealistic or didn’t provide the emotional response they should have, but Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass was not one of those. While there were a few aspects that I was not a fan of, I really enjoyed and felt myself connecting with this book. I know some people may not think this book is suitable for teenagers (mostly because of the book title), but I think teens would not only enjoy this book, but they would get something out of it. The ending is most definitely not picture perfect, but it’s realistic; not every situation turns into a happy ending. However, I’m happy with how it ended because of this; it was a little rushed, but not enough to throw off the feel of the book. I found this book to be very powerful, engaging, and realistic.

Review: Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new “friend” is the hired help, and Maude’s very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.

(Desciption from Goodreads)

FINAL GRADE: Brating

I read this book for my young adult literature course, because it was one of the books up to win the William C. Morris YA Debut Award (it lost to Charm and Strange). I rather enjoyed this book, though there were some reasons for why this wasn’t an A for me.

This book is a different take on accepting yourself for who you are, inside and out. It’s even more interesting because instead of being a contemporary YA book, it’s a historical fiction take; historical fiction is a difficult genre to handle, unless you really do your research, but I felt that Ross did a great job with it.

Okay, negatives first. The pace of this book was a little slow for me at first. It took me a good while to actually get into the story; it was a great story, but it was really slow (for me) during the first…1/3 of the book I’d say. After that, it really picked up and I really enjoyed it. However, going off of the pace subject, the really big climax of the book was really fast; there could have been so much more added to it, but I feel like Ross rushed it a bit, leaving the reader going, “wait, what just happened?” It was really suspenseful, but it felt so rushed, I didn’t really get a good chance to process what was going on.

Another negative was that I felt Isabelle was a much stronger character than Maude was, despite the fact that she was a secondary (main) character. Maude was the main character and Isabelle was second in line, but Isabelle came off as more likeable and more full of life (make sense?) than Maude did. Even though this is great that a secondary character was that strong, it didn’t help that the main character wasn’t as strong; I liked her well enough, but I didn’t find myself rooting for her the way I did for Isabelle.

I thought this book was beautifully written. It was a fantastic and imaginative take on how society views beauty, inside and outside. I really enjoyed how at the beginning Maude had low self-esteem, but by the end of the book, she had built up this issue and become proud of who she was. Even though she become a repoussoir (basically someone who “repels” the public eye from them to someone more attractive) in order to support herself, this job built up her self-esteem and allowed her to see herself as she should, not how society tells her she should.

The characters of this book were all fantastic, even those you ended up hating (that’s what makes them a great character…they made you feel how the author wanted you to feel about them). I enjoyed how the girls employed at the Durandeau Agency interacted with one another, both when they were being “shown off” to potential clients and then behind closed doors or when they were off the clock. Even the snooty girls were likeable in some way. The descriptions of each girl, though repulsive, were easy to take in and imagine.

I loved the setting of this book: 19th century Paris. Swoon. I also loved how Ross managed to keep the characters in the character of that time, without it feeling forced. It was obvious that Ross did her research when it came to creating this story in order to portray a real feel of the time. The added information about the Eiffel Tower being built was also a great backdrop to the rest of the story, adding just that extra flare of historical background to the time in Paris.

There was a sense of predictability to the story, as it was almost blatantly obvious that the climax that happened was going to happen, but it was still suspenseful and caused me to hold my breath a few times. I enjoyed the relationship that formed between Maude and Isabelle, as well as with Maude and other secondary characters, like her love interest. Though I wish there had been more scenes that could have helped Maude develop these relationships that much more, it was still a wonderful story about find your beauty and confidence.

Review: And We Stay

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

(Description from Goodreads)

FINAL GRADE: CratingFirst off, I received this as an ARC from NetGalley. I really wanted to like this book. Like, really, really, REALLY wanted to like it. The synopsis sounds great, doesn’t it? Sadly, the book fell short and I wasn’t all that impressed. There were redeeming qualities to it, which is why it received a grade of C, but I cringed a lot while reading; I was determined to finish it, however.

Okay, so the book starts off with letting us know that Emily is now at a boarding school for girls after her boyfriend brought a gun to school and killed himself. I won’t say why he did, but the reason just fell flat for me. Ugh, worthy. But as for Emily, for someone who saw her boyfriend kill himself while at school, I would have expected her to show more emotions. However, she was a very flat character, with hardly any emotion at all. Not exactly what I would expect from someone in her situation. She showed some emotion toward the end of the book, but not enough to make up for the rest of book having a lack of emotion.

What really bothered me the most about this book was how it was written: 3rd person present tense. It was seriously like pulling teeth for me to get through the book with that kind of writing. A typical sentence read, “Emily walks to the bathroom down the hallway and looks at herself in the mirror” (this wasn’t actually a sentence, but it gets the point across). For some reason, I just couldn’t stand the style of writing; it felt way too forced. Maybe to some it isn’t an issue, but it took a lot for me to read the book just because of that.

Some of the aspects I did like about the book was the imagery and the poems (that Emily wrote while at boarding school) that were scattered throughout. The poems were really good (which says something, because I’m not a huge fan of poetry) and the imagery picked up the slack of the rest of the book.

I surprisingly liked Emily’s roommate, K.T.; she at least showed emotion and was compelling to find out more about. I really wasn’t invested in Emily’s storyline after a certain point, but K.T.’s presence made up for what Emily was lacking.

I also liked that there were flashbacks to what happened before Emily came to her new school (the events that led up to it). Considering I had just read Hate List by Jennifer Brown right before I read this one, I saw that was a possible connection between the two stories: the flashbacks the main characters provided for the reader were very informative and truly added more to the story.

For a book that mentioned the presence of Emily Dickinson quite a bit, there was rarely any true presence, which was pretty disappointing. I requested this book because of the literary connection, but there really wasn’t one…just a mention and a few happenings that could possibly be deciphered as something of the sort.

The last few pages I found myself finally feeling invested int he story, but by that point, it was almost too late for me to really enjoy the story. I wish I had felt a stronger connection with this book, but I just couldn’t dig it up. There were several aspects to the book that I did enjoy, but the negatives put the positives in the shadows.

Review: Hate List

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

(Description from Goodreads)

FINAL GRADE:

Brating
I’m not sure what draws me to these types of books, but this is probably the fourth school shooting YA book I’ve read since I started this blog; not exactly sure what that says for my book choices, but aside from that, this was a truly compelling and thought-provoking read. It was also terrifying and heart-wrenching as well.

Like the description says, Valerie’s boyfriend brought a gun to school at the end of the previous school year and shot several classmates, as well as a teacher; these people (for the most part) were on the “hate list” that was created by him and Valerie. Of course, Valerie had no real malice behind the hate list, as it was just a way for her to blow off steam when someone upset or angered her. However, Nick took it seriously. Hate List focuses on the following school year and how Valerie’s life changed forever from that incident.

Sometimes I find it hard to really connect with a character. However, that wasn’t the case with Valerie; I felt for her every step of the way. It was heart breaking to see her former friends shun her and ignore her at school and those who previously tormented her merely would stare instead; I’m not sure which is worse. Because of this Valerie was alone and treated as if she were the one who brought a gun to school and shot several people; because of her connection to Nick, people automatically assumed she was in on the shooting as well. Valerie was real…she had flaws, just like everyone else, and her life was falling apart. I honestly don’t know how she managed to pull through, especially since everyone was against her, including her own family. Of course, friendship can be created in unlike situations, as is seen with Valerie and the former tormenter she saved from being shot.

The characters, for the most part, had depth to them. Aside from Valerie, Nick was also a character I had mixed feelings about. On the one hand, we see a hateful teen who wants nothing more than to see certain classmates dead. On the other hand, we see Nick, the poetry-loving, soft hearted, boyfriend to Valerie. There were two sides to him, much like there are usually different sides to a real person; a specific situation may pull one side out and hide the other away. It was one heck of an emotional roller coaster throughout the entire book and it was easy to see how everyone could be a victim in their own way.

I must say though that I loathed Valerie’s parents. They were AWFUL. The mother felt her own daughter was a monster and that she had to protect society FROM her. The father was just terrible and should have been smacked in the head multiple times. Frankie, Valerie’s brother, was interesting, though I quite honestly do not know how I truly feel about him. one minute he was there for his sister and the next he was blaming her for everything. Hormones are so much fun. I also couldn’t stand Valerie’s former best friend and group of friends. They shunned her from their group because they thought she knew about what Nick was going to do all because she created the hate list. Again, Valerie had no true intentions behind the hate list; it was just her way to let off steam from those who bullied her.

This book was more focused on the development of the character Valerie than the plot. This isn’t to say that there wasn’t any plot, but that was almost secondary to how far Valerie came as a character throughout. By the end, Valerie had become a more stable character and was able to focus her thoughts and energy elsewhere. There were many struggles that were approached and there were many realistic qualities to this book, making it that much more thought-provoking.

There were aspects that I wasn’t a fan of and that I felt took away from the true story at hand. There was also a lack of true emotions from the other characters in the book, aside from Valerie. She was still bullied and still tormented; just because one person came to her rescue, that sadly isn’t enough to help someone out of despair sometimes. She had nothing to do with the shooting, but because of her connection to Nick, everyone thought she did. Aside from depicting the feelings of being alone and depressed, other emotions that were lacking were hate and fear, something that should be present in such a situation.

This book really made me feel for the MC, something that doesn’t always happen; however, she was the only character I truly felt for. The rest of the characters just made me mad, though I suppose that was their purpose.

Talk It Out Thursday – Multiple Book Copies

4talkitoutthursdayTalk It Out Thursday is a discussion feature here at The Printed YA Word that takes place every Thursday.

Okay, this week’s topic is going to be short and sweet…mostly because I forgot today was Thursday and didn’t have a topic in mind. But, despite all that, I came up with something as I sit at my desk browsing the Internet. Multiple copies of a book. I’m sure I can’t be the only person out there who loves a book SO much that they purchase every different copy/edition they come across, right? The book that I do that for is Jane Eyre. I ADORE that book. I honestly didn’t think I would like it when I was assigned to read it my junior year of college in my senior seminar class for English majors (I took it a year early because student teaching takes place spring semester of senior year). However, I was pleasantly surprised that I LOVED the Bronte sisters, especially Charlotte. While I do love Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, I am in love with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Because of this, I have a section on my new bookcase that is dedicated to my many copies of this book. In fact, I’m looking at purchasing two other copies of the book at this very moment (which is where I came up with the topic for this discussion).

This is my current Jane Eyre collection...

This is my current Jane Eyre collection…

So…who else out there has a book they love SO much, that they just HAVE to buy every edition they come across? My boyfriend says he does the same thing for The Chronicles of Narnia (which I sadly have yet to read!) I want to know some book obsessions…let me know!

Review: The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

(Description from Goodreads)

FINAL GRADE:

Arating

Has it seriously taken me this long to finally read this book? Yes, sadly, it has. However, I’m so glad I finally read it.

Words escape me when it comes to how I feel about the Fault In Our Stars. That’s probably why it has taken me several weeks to actually write this review. There were so many moments that just pulled at my heartstrings and when it was all over, I fell into a book hangover (which I had to immediately pull myself out of because of classes starting).

Let’s start with the characters. I liked ALL of the characters in this book and LOVED quite a few. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are by far some of the most remarkable YA characters I have encountered during my time of writing this blog. Yes, I know everyone loves them and there is such a following of them, but they deserve it. They brought many laughs to my face, they brought many tears to my eyes, and through it all, they provided a smile on my face, even during those moments that were heartbreaking. Cancer can touch anyone, not just adults, but the topic of children having cancer is far more taboo. Both Hazel and Augustus were truly remarkable characters and teenagers who were always looking at death in the eyes. Heck, all of the characters were remarkable in their own way, especially the parents. Thank you, John Green, for giving us a YA novel where the parents are there and supportive!

Everyone talks about how beautifully John Green writes and I can clearly see why. But I think there’s more to it than it just being a beautifully written book. It has a beautifully written meaning behind it. Like any other YA book, this one is full of love, friendship, hope, life, but unlike most YA novels, this one a powerfully, thought-provoking concept. Am I making sense?  It’s hard to do this book justice in words, both because it has such a fanbase built up around it and because it’s one of those books that truly makes you lose your words. The connection between the characters, the stories that take place around each character, everything about it was beautiful. I’m sure there are plenty of people who do not feel the same way as those of us who absolutely adore the book and I can understand. There is a great deal of hype for this book and perhaps it’s hard to live up to that hype for some readers. There are also several aspects that occur in the book that I can understand would make people dislike it (for example, the almost miracle like drug that has kept Hazel alive for so long when she should have died years before) and that’s understandable. Cancer is a tough subject to portray and perhaps it’s a touchy subject for some. However, I do believe that John Green has written a rather unique story that deal with cancer patients, as it is not entirely doom and gloom and manages to have some light moments full of romantic gestures. Hazel and Augustus fall in love super fast, but that’s what teenagers do! Teenagers look at one another and bam, perhaps it is love at first sight for them. That’s nothing to mock or treat as a negative aspect, it just happens.

The only true problem I had with this book was that there were some instances where the dialogue felt forced or unnatural for a teenager, whether they had cancer or not. However, I think this is something that is very difficult to truly grasp, as most of those writing teenager dialogues are no longer teenagers. It’s hard to get that true feeling that a teenager is talking when the person writing has way more experience than the character they are writing for. And, I agree, that the conversation about breakfast foods was a little…obnoxious? But I think it was supposed to provide some comic relief for one of those serious times.

There are so many aspects of this book that I can talk about and want to talk about, but honestly, I don’t think I can do the book justice. I will say that if you haven’t read this book yet, do so. It may not be your favorite and you may even feel let down after hearing all the hype about it, but at least give it a chance. Yes, the hype is built up. Yes, the fanbase is huge. Yes, you will either love it or you will hate it. But don’t let any of those aspects deter you from this novel. I will end this review with the fact that I did cry while reading this book. Not a boo hoo cry, but tears were shed. I don’t normally cry from reading books, but this one made it happen.

Okay? Okay.

Waiting on Wednesday – Rebel Belle

WaitingOnWednesday“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Rebel Belle (Rachel Hawkins)8475505

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

(Description from Goodreads)

How cute is that cover? I adore it! Yes, I do sometimes judge a book by its cover. What do y’all think of this book? Think it sounds good?

Waiting on Wednesday – The Art of Lainey

WaitingOnWednesday“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

16068910The Art of Lainey (Paula Stokes)

Release Date: May 20, 2014

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame.

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn’t someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn’t going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him…

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what’s really worth fighting for.

(Description from Goodreads)

This looks like such a fun YA contemporary book! What do y’all think? What are YOU waiting on?

Waiting on Wednesday – Prisoner of Night and Fog

WaitingOnWednesday“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

17668473

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Anne Blankman)

Release Date: April 22, 2014

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

(Description from Goodreads)

What are some books y’all are waiting on? Let me know so I can be on the lookout for them!