Saturday, January 30, 2010


Books 9 and 10 were totally different, except that in both cases, the main characters have to move, which changes their lives.

9. Also Known as Harper by Ann Haywood Leal

10. The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman

I enjoyed thinking about how the relationship between the sisters changed in The Year My Sister Got Lucky. I don't have a sister myself, so I think I'm often drawn to books about sisters. This book was full of great details and captured the complexity of the relationship without being too heavy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Every Soul a Star

8. Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass

The title of this book by Wendy Mass is fantastic - it speaks to me about the uniqueness of individuals and how everyone has something they are good at. I really enjoyed this book and will someday love to read it again, because there were so many layers in it.

Since my own work-in-progress has alternating points of view, I was interested in how she moved the story forward through the perspectives of three different characters. Sometimes, the reader sees the same situation from the perspectives of different characters, which I thought was really cool. And I loved the characters' different interests and personalities. The only thing that bugged me about this story was that the parents seemed insensitive to the needs of their kids at the beginning (possibly a plot device?) but that's probably just coming from me being a parent, and might not bother younger readers.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Next on the List

The latest books I've finished reading are:

5. The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

I enjoyed this MG book about a girl coming to terms with her Dad being in jail, plus I loved the elements of cooking woven into the story. Someday, I want to write a story that includes food and cooking as a main element, so I'm always attracted to books that do.

6. Ringmaster by Julia Golding

Lots of action. I will definitely put the next Darcie Lock book on my to-be-read list.

7. Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Thanks to Angela Cerrito for alerting me to this novel when I won it on her blog. I've read other books about kids dying of cancer -- Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, Amy Goldman Koss's Side Effects (really loved this one) and Going for the Record by Julie A. Swanson. Before I Die is more raw. It's emotionally wrenching. This was one to read straight through.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Brain Has Been Taken Over by Aliens

I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and that doesn’t usually work to my advantage when it comes to my writing. For me, a tired brain usually leads to a day that’s devoid of writing ideas. Or words that come out stilted and are extraneous to the story, like a long, unproductive detour. But strangely, yesterday I got an idea for a picture book. And not just an idea – I had whole phrases, vivid visual images, and a full-blown character. It spilled out as I was driving (fortunately my daughter didn’t mind being a note-taker) and later, refused to let me sleep again.

It’s almost scary the way the writing part of the brain takes over your mind when you least expect it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

100 Children's Books in 2010

I’ve decided to read 100 children’s books in 2010. I use the term children’s books, though I'm going to be reading young adult novels as well as middle grade novels. A few picture books or chapter books may sneak in too. My plan is to read only books I haven’t read before. Don't expect reviews or a lot of plot details. I'm a writer, not a book reviewer.

Since I made this decision halfway through the month of January, I’m already behind! On average, I need to read 8 1/3 books each month.

In the first weeks of January, I’ve read these books:

1. If You Live Like Me by Lori Weber

2. I Know It’s Over by C.K. Kelly Martin

3. Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix

4. First Light by Rebecca Stead

These novels are very different but I enjoyed all four of them. First Light reminded me a little of City of Ember and confused me at first with the changes in point of view, but turned out to be very absorbing.