Sunday, March 30, 2008
By: Jolene Siana
Go Ask Ogre is a collection of letters that the author wrote to the front man of the band Skinny Puppy, Ogre, when she was just a teenager. It was a time in her life that was wrought with pain and sadness, not only dealing with growing up, but with her mother’s abuse and her own need to cut herself. Not thinking that she would ever get a reply, but hoping too, Ogre writes back one day. This letter, on his wishes, was not included in the book, but by Jolene’s reply, you can tell it meant a lot to her to know that someone was reading her thoughts and words.
As time goes on, she forms a deeper relationship with Ogre when she gets to meet him at various shows, even having Ogre tell her to keep writing if she needed too and that he’d send her letters back one day. Jolene continues her trek through life, soon going off to an art school for college, still dealing with various trials and tribulations. Her anchor and hope seems to come from the pages she can write on. It was a way for her to pour out her soul and then to send it away, hoping that someone would read and care about what she had to say.
True to his word, Ogre ended up sending her all her letters back, even including ones that he had never opened. From those collections of letters and notebooks, Jolene sorted through them and formed what would become Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter, which also includes copies of some of the actual letters, pictures, and more.
Go Ask Ogre was an intense and emotional read, but beautiful in its own way. The letters are very real and make you feel the author’s joys and pains as you read along. It’s very obvious that writing to Ogre and just the world of music in and of itself helped Jolene make it through the rough times in her life and come out on the other side a terrific person. This book is a great read for anyone who wants a look at a life that was saved in what may seem like odd means, but will resonate with most people anyway.
Go Ask Ogre needs to be seen as what it is, however, and that’s a book that was written through darker times and without the knowledge the author holds now. It’s not preachy or annoying. It’s a story that makes you think and makes you wonder. You’ll find yourself agreeing with her and disagreeing with her, but no matter what, you’ll all be cheering at the end.
Review by: Lauren
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
1.Because you CAN pre-order it, so why not? Come on!
2.There have already been two awesome reviews for the book by teens. You can find them here:
3.For all you music lovers, the name of the book came from a song by Sleater-Kinney.
4.Again, for all the music lovers out there: this book has a strong theme of music throughout it, so that’s pretty sweet, right?
5.Sure, a lot of authors have Myspaces nowadays, but it’s definitely worth it to mention Stephanie’s. Add her and talk to her here:
Now, why is this the fifth reason to pre-order the book you ask? Well, because Stephanie is pretty dang awesome and if we don’t persuade you to buy the book, then the author just might!
6.Other authors even have some pretty awesome comments about the book, which you can see on Stephanie’s Myspace. The authors being Irvine Welsh and John McNally.
7.The book comes out from MTV Books, who also released The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I hear is quite popular… ;-)
8.The book cover looks AMAZING, so if you don’t follow the “Don’t judge a book by its cover” rule, then you NEED this book.
9.Stephanie has close to 600 friends on Myspace, so there MUST be a lot of people liking her book…and it’s not even OUT YET!
10.If you pre-order now, then you get a book in the mail (and we all love mail) and you can start reading it without having to drag yourself to the nearest bookstore (since we all know lives get hectic sometimes).
Sunday, March 23, 2008
By: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Life for Ren changes from great times in New York City to crazy times in Danbury, Connecticut once her mom is killed by a huge stack of Harry Potter books. (As Ren would say: thanks J.K. Rowling!)
More then her mom passing away and having to move to a new town and meet new people, Ren finds herself wrapped up in helping her enemy, Farrin, not get hurt by a creepy pedophile on the internet.
Not surprisingly, Ren came by the information of Farrin posting in sex chat rooms by accident, having taken the wrong notebook and finding printouts of messages from a man who calls himself FDA.
Devising a half-plan, Ren makes sure that Farrin can no longer talk to FDA, but begins to talk to him herself so that she can bring this guy down!
But what happens when she finds out who the guy is?
What will she do then, when she realizes she knows FDA?
And beyond that, how can a girl make some new friends when her world seems to be falling down around her?
Secrets of My Suburban Life is the first book that I’ve read by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, but now that I have, I’m sure it won’t be the last. Secrets was a great novel about trying to build your life again, while surviving a thing called…high school. And more then that, it’s funny too!
Maybe that goes without saying, since Ren’s mom was essentially killed by Harry Potter, but it definitely goes beyond that. Ren seems like a full-fledged, real-life teenage girl, and humor definitely goes along with that!
By: Brian Sloan
Prom night: dress up, go out, dance, and have the time of your life. Right?! Not for Cameron.
First, he gets stuck going with a fake date, Virginia, because his boyfriend, Shane, wants them to go together…but not together. Instead, Shane will be going with his ex-girlfriend and best friend, Jane. Problem is: Virginia was the only one not in on the plan, and guess what? She finds out!
With a suddenly drunk date, Cameron is finding that the night is not going to go over well at all. The dance soon becomes just as bad, with Virginia burning her hair and Shane off pretending to be "one of the guys", that Jane decides her and Cameron need to get high.
The book continues with more and crazier events, with Cameron sneaking out of prom with the drug dealer, going to a gay strip club, being chased by the cops, almost drowning, and more, just too finally see prom night actually come to an end. But on a high note or low, you’ll have to read to find out!
A Really Nice Prom Mess is a hilarious novel about a prom night gone completely awry. The book keeps you interested from beginning to end, with one adventure to the next. I loved the various relationships between the characters and how there are more then one side to everyone, which you find out as you read along.
The book is something that people will enjoy, whether in high school themselves or not! I highly recommend and I can’t wait to read something else by Brian Sloan. Ever think of writing a sequel?!
by: Maryrose Wood
Emily and Phillip’s relationship began because of one play: Aurora. Emily was at the theatre enjoying tickets she had received for her bat mitzvah; while Phillip was there alone to escape the family he felt he could no longer turn too.
From then on, the two became inseparable; the best of friends. The thing that continued to tie them together and give them joy in their lives was still the play that brought them together. However, rumors are starting to go around, first from their friend Ian, and then from others, that the show might be closing.
How could this be? Aurora was something that they saw every Saturday. It was a huge part of their life. How could it be closing? And if it was true, then they wanted to see every single show until the end!
The only thing is: they need the money and a lot more then what they had been borrowing from Emily’s grandmother. But Grandma Rose has her own secrets and needs the money for herself as well. What are two theatre nuts to do?
This was a great story for anyone interested in young adult literature, but most especially for any fan of the theatre! The book started off a bit slow for me, but it soon became quite appealing! Phillip and Emily’s love for the play comes across exceptionally well and made me think about my own favorite play, RENT, coming off of Broadway. One thing I really loved about the book is that each chapter is named after a song from various musicals and it always somehow ties into the chapter!
If you’re looking for a book that combines the theatre, friendship, and the passion of being a fan, then this is the book for you!
By: Jennifer E. Smith
Courtesty of www.teensreadtoo.com
Ryan Walsh is a girl who loves the Chicago Cubs. It’s not just about baseball to her, though. It’s more about her dad, who
passed away when she was ten years old, who sparked her love for the team. She’s a freshmen in high school now, and
the year didn’t turn out quite how she wanted it to, with her drifting further apart from her grade school friends, Kate and
Everything changes for Ryan on Opening Day, when she goes to Wrigley Field to try and scalp a ticket. Though she ends
up having to enjoy the game outside of the stadium, it’s all worth it, for that day is when she really meets the new kid at
From then on, they have a relationship that builds quickly based on things like baseball and knowing when to just be silent
together. Things are finally starting to look up for Ryan, when it all starts to get out of her control again. The feelings of
helplessness. The fear. In the end, Ryan will have a hard lesson to learn. How to move forward, without forgetting the
THE COMEBACK SEASON was an amazing story about getting through the tough times in life to make it to the other
side. The friendship between Ryan and Nick is warming and hilarious at the same time, reflecting the lives of friends all
over the world. Jennifer E. Smith mixes life...love...death...strength...and baseball in a beautiful way that will keep you
flipping the pages and ready to tread through the journey alongside Ryan. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be happy, you’ll be
mad. But most of all, you’ll love this book, whether a fan of sports or not, because more then that, it’s simply a story of
learning how to live and thrive during the good and bad times.
Add Jennifer on Myspace: www.myspace.com/thecomebackseason
By: Lisa McMann
Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to see into people’s dreams? Their fantasies, their fears…it would all be spread out before you…and the best part? They wouldn’t even know! It sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, not for Janie. Most of her dreams consist of other people’s, and it doesn’t just happen when she’s sleeping. If she’s around anyone who falls asleep, she better watch out, because she’ll be sucked into their subconscious, unable to control her body shaking or going numb while her mind is away.
And the worse thing about all this? Nobody knows but her…until she meets Cabel.
Cabel is a boy in her class who suddenly transforms one school year into the type of guy that has all the girls looking, but he only seems to focus on Janie.
But of course, nothing ever stays simple in Janie’s life and some of her dreams transform into nightmares of a monster armed with knives for hands.
As her year goes on, even things with Cabel start to change and Janie begins to think she never had him figure out to begin with.
But what exactly are those nightmares about? And what is up with Cabel?
Whether she wants to have it or not, Janie has a gift…so will she use it?
Wake is an amazing debut from author Lisa McMann. Janie’s struggles with family, friends, and school are not alien to teenagers today, not to mention the boy troubles! But mix that with her ability to see into people’s dreams and you have a realistic fantasy at your fingertips! You’ll speed through these pages, eager to figure out every single mystery hidden within the novel, and in the end, you’ll definitely be eager for more!
For fans of: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Review by: Lauren
Add Lisa on myspace: www.myspace.com/lisamcmann
Out Now, so go and get it!
Interview by: Lauren
Author, Maryrose Wood, answers our questions about her contribution and favorites in the anthology Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, a more in-depth look at her new book My Life: The Musical, what she's working on now, and more!
1. You have a contribution to the book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. When were you asked to include a memoir? What made you decide to help out with this book?
It’s all the fault of the delightful Rachel Fershleiser, who with Larry Smith is the co-editor of the book. Rachel and I had met a few years ago when we both worked on this wonderful project called RIPFest, in which otherwise sane people wrote and filmed and edited and scored fully-produced short films in like, ten minutes. Okay, it was really ten days, but it was truly crazy, like a reality-television version of movie making.
Anyway, my first book for teens came out in 2006. It’s called Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love, and in May of that year Rachel wrote a terrific little profile about me and the book in The Villager. We’ve stayed in touch ever since. Then, about a year ago, in her superhero identity as one of the editors of SMITH magazine, she included me in her invitation to submit a six-word memoir.
Honestly, though, you did not have to be somebody special to submit a memoir. They posted in invitation on the SMITH website, and from what I’ve been told they received something like fifteen thousand submissions. I don’t envy them the task of culling through (they picked a little over eight hundred for inclusion), but the finished book is just awesome! It’s truly hard to put down.
2. Who wrote some of your favorite six-word memoirs?
One of my favorites in the book is by Daniel Handler, who in real life is the fellow who wrote the wildly successful series of kids’ books, A Series of Unfortunate Events.
His memoir was:
What?Lemony Snicket?Lemony Snicket?What?
I just love that. I think it’s totally hilarious and captures what has to be the total bludgeoning shock of having your life spun completely around by that kind of commercial success. Not only does Handler catch the essence of that experience in only six words, he only uses three different ones to do it!
One of my other favorites is by Beth Greivel:
Discovered moral code via Judy Blume.
Anyone who writes teen fiction for a living has to appreciate that one!
3. Did it take you a long time to come up with six words to describe your life, or was it surprisingly easy?
I actually fired off a reply to Rachel quite impulsively – so impulsively, in fact, that I did not keep a copy of my six-word memoir or even remember what it was about!
Then, some months later, I got an email from Rachel that my contribution was in the book, and would I please come to the launch party and all that. I was tickled, and yet could not remember for the life of me what I’d written.
Luckily, when I arrived at the party I had to use the bathroom, and there was a copy of the book cleverly placed near the toilet for convenient powder room perusal (it truly makes an awesome bathroom book). So I had a moment to thumb through and found mine before I made a total fool of myself.
4. Your book My Life: The Musical came out in March. Will you give us a brief summary of the book?
Sure! It’s about Emily and Philip, two Broadway-obsessed teens who are best friends and ardent fans of a show called Aurora. They go into New York City every Saturday and wait for rush tickets for the matinee, along with all the other hardcore Aurorafans.
But then some crazy rumors start to fly in the theatre chatrooms that the show might be closing. In their efforts to find out what’s really going on, and — if the rumors prove true — see their beloved show one last time, Emily and Philip get caught up in all kinds of adventures that involve secretly borrowed money, a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof, a dangerous visit to a Broadway producer’s office, a joy-ride in an RV, an underage beer that solves Broadway’s biggest mystery, and a life-changing ride on a Ferris wheel.
Most of all, Emily and Philip discover something unexpected about the depth of their friendship, and spend one unforgettable night in the theatre.
5. Do you have any favorite musicals? Why do you like them so much?
I’d say Sweeney Todd is my favorite, because I think it comes as close to being flawless as a theatrical work can get. The score by Stephen Sondheim is gorgeous and varied, the storytelling is precisely structured and totally engrossing, it offers great roles for stars to play, it’s scary and heartbreaking and hilarious – it’s just wonderful.
For sentimental reasons, I will always love Merrily We Roll Along, not only because it has another wonderful (and totally different) Sondheim score, but because I was in it! When I was a teenager I was obsessed with theatre, just like the characters in my book. After I graduated high school I went to NYU to study acting, and by the time I was eighteen I was cast in the original Broadway company of Merrily.
The show flopped after only two weeks but lives on in a wonderful cast album (there’s even talk of a Broadway revival next season!). Most importantly to me, to this day some of my best friends are people I met in that show. Other people have college buddies that they stay in touch with through their lives; I have Merrily buddies!
6. If you had to pick one song from a musical to go along with your book, what would you choose and why?
Well, it would have to be “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” I think. One reviewer described the book as “a love letter to the theater,” and it really is. The plot includes obsessed fans, aspiring actors, ambitious chorus girls, big stars, Broadway producers, Tony-winning authors — by the time the story’s done you’ve met a real cross section of the whole wonderful tribe of theatre people. It’s a world I know very well and have great affection for.
7. You seem to write about a wide variety of topics. Did you always plan on doing that?
I tend to have a lot of interests! I did improv comedy for a few years and it really taught me how to generate tons of ideas; it’s great training for writers. You learn that new ideas are always flowing, you can’t run out. And you also learn not to be uptight about letting unexpected things happen while you’re dreaming up a story.
I do see myself as the kind of writer who will have a career that encompasses a lot of different kinds of books, ultimately. I like to pay attention and take inspiration from the world around me, which is infinitely varied, and I also like to try different things creatively, to keep myself challenged and growing as a writer. I’ve written plays, screenplays, song lyrics, novels, comedy and drama, fantasy and realistic stories – even musicals! It’s good exercise for the writing muscles.
8. What was the last book that you really enjoyed?
I absolutely loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart. It comes out in March and it is one of the funniest, smartest, most thought-provoking YA books I’ve read. It’s about a girl who single-handedly takes on the super-snobby all-male secret society at the elite boarding school she attends. Highly recommended!
9. Each chapter in My Life: The Musical is titled with a song from a musical, and in turn, that song or musical is referenced in the chapter somewhere. When did you come up the idea to do this? Was it hard to find the right songs?
In the book, the character Philip has a truly encyclopedic knowledge of musicals. Any song or show reference is at his fingertips, and his friends have fun trying to stump him with Broadway trivia questions. Believe it or not, I know people like this! So I was inspired that ability that Philip has, of identifying songs and shows so readily, and decided to title each chapter with the name of a song and the show it came from.
Often I didn’t know what the song would be until I’d written and rewritten the chapter a few times, but some perfect choice always presented itself eventually. Sometimes it was a song that got mentioned in the chapter, other times it was a song that commented in some way on the events of that part of the book.
One of my favorites is the chapter in which Philip goes to visit Stevie Stephenson, the notorious Broadway producer, and has a funny conversation with Stevie’s very Irish secretary before he’s allowed in. The title of that chapter is “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” It’s song from Finian’s Rainbow, a show that takes place in Ireland.
10. In My Life, the English teacher is very adamant that Emily stop writing all her papers about Aurora. Was there a specific reason you wanted a character such as him in the story?
Stories develop through conflict and making sure your main characters have obstacles to overcome. I wanted to show that the real-world reaction to Emily’s interest in Aurora was not all positive — from her teacher’s perspective, it’s totally obsessive and not a good thing. Of course, this teacher is also the person who directs the musicals in Emily’s high school, so he’s also a theatre fan; he just thinks she’s gone overboard.
11. For teens nowadays, why would you say that they should check out musicals more often?
Like jazz, Broadway musicals are a uniquely American art form. They combine the thrill of live performance with singing, dancing, acting, amazing sets and costumes and (if it’s a good show) a great story. If you look at the popularity of television programs like “American Idol,” it just affirms that there’s nothing an audience likes more than wonderful singing by a great performer. Musicals deliver all that eight times a week!
12.Are you currently working on anything at the moment?
Currently I’m finishing the first draft of a new book. It’s called A Beautiful Nothing, and it’s a modern retelling of the plot of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” set in the Bronx’s Little Italy. “Much Ado” is a favorite play of mine, and my mom is Italian-American, so I grew up with all of that culture around me, the big Sunday dinners, the homemade wine, the tomato plants in the back yard.
It’s been great to write a book set in that world.And I have a book coming out in May, called How I Found the Perfect Dress. It’s a sequel to Why I Let My Hair Grow Out. In the first book, the main character, Morgan, gets sent to Ireland to get over a broken heart and discovers that she’s also Morganne, a part-goddess figure from Irish lore.
In the sequel, Morgan is back home in Connecticut and thinks all that magic stuff is behind her, but it turns out she’s wrong. Before long she has to figure out how to take an annoying and dangerous enchantment off of Colin, the guy she loves, without pissing off an evil faery queen and while doing a very special favor for a leprechaun.
This book has junior proms, garden gnomes, a very unusual game of mini-golf and a guest appearance by a world-famous rock and roll icon. It’s kind of a wild ride; I had a hilarious time writing it.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
If you didn't read about our panel when we were on the look for one, then I'll explain it now. The panel, for future issues, will help out when we have articles and want to have others comments and not just our own...when we need more questions for interviews...when we want to run by ideas to people...and probably more in time! That doesn't mean we won't look for help elsewhere..we will...so keep reading our blogs (subscribe to them) and checking out all the bulletins.
But for now, read on and find out a bit about our panel and thanks for all the support from everyone!
Music you like: Music is a pretty big part of my life so I like a lot of stuff but I really love rock and indie rock. Some of my favorite bands are Linkin Park, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, We the Kings, The Spill Canvas, Papa Roach, Making April, and Rascal Flatts, among so many others.
Books you like: I love anything by Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Stephenie Meyer, Terri Farley, and Tamora Pierce. I also love Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor, Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark, Heart of Fire by Victoria Holmes, and a bunch more. I pretty much like any teen books and horse books.
Movies you like: I'm not that big of a movie fan but I just went to see College Road Trip which rocked. Aside from that, A Cinderella Story has been my favorite teen movie forever. Also, Harry Potter, Ella Enchanted, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Spiderwick Chronicles, The Break-Up, and Eragon. Oh, and all of the Bring It On movies.
Favorite Website: I'm not sure. I'm on amazon.com a lot but that's a pretty crappy favorite website... I do love going on reviewer's blogs (like http://teenbookreview.wordpress.com) but that's a lot of sites...
Music you like: anything from folk/acoustic to post-hardcore... favourite bands include brand new, bright eyes, glassjaw and saetia.
Books you like: the perks of being a wallflower by stephen chbosky, girlfriend in a coma/shampoo planet/generation X by douglas coupland, stardust/coraline by neil gaiman, poetry by alexander pope and lord byron aswell.
Movies you like: requiem for a dream, the princess bride, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, garden state.
Favorite Website: myspace. com obviously ;) also postsecret. com, secretsvesper. com and asofterworld. com.
the music i like well i listen to almost anything but my favorite singer is kate voegele she is the coolest singer ever.and as for books i lovedreading all of sara dessens books in fact im waiting till her new book comes out in april called lock and key but i really love to read and i have about 100 fav books lol but my fav author would def. have to be sara dessenas for movies i love the movie juno and also the movie 13. those are my most fav. movies i watch alot of movies and i like alot of them but i love these 2 and my favorite website i actually have like two one is myspace the other is the-n. com.
Music you like: Beatles, Taking Back Sunday, Cobra Starship, Cartel, Boys Like Girls, Aerosmith, McFly, Hellogoodbye, AllAmerican Rejects, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Panic at the Disco, Motion City Soundtrack, My Chemical Romance, and more
Books you like:Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, So Yesterday, A Novel Idea, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, The Boys Next Door, Catcher in the Rye, Sade, stargirl, Harry Potter, Twilight, Blue Bloods, and more
Movies you like: Casablanca, Maltese Falcon, Tin Man, Hitch, Across the Universe, Fight Club, Donnie Darko, Labyrinth, Pan's Labyrinth, Flakes, How to Deal, A walk to remember, Pirates of the Caribbeans, and again, more
Favorite Website: Myspace, Deviantart, liveJournal, Fanfiction, again more.
Music you like: I listen to alittle bit of everything, my ipod has a wide variety of artists on it. But I really like Rock 'N' Roll Soldiers, Panic! At the Disco and A New Found Glory.
Books you like: Wake by Lisa McMann, Bloodline by Kate Cary, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray,Thicker Than Water by Carla Jablonski and anything my Lurlene McDaniel.
Movies you like: The Covenant, Chasing Liberty, Blood and Chocolate and my favorite since I was a little girl Mary Poppins.
Favorite website: bookdivas. com and myspace. com (to keep connected with other booklovers.
The first time I heard these guys, I was amazed. I couldn't believe they weren't signed. Their music is more than catchy and their lyrics are more than clever. These are the kinds of songs that get stuck in my head all day.Each song has a unique, infectious sound. Every song is extremely catchy, especially Jack In The Box.
The most addicting song, though, would be Behind Rita Hayworth; it was the first song that I heard and got me hooked. It's definitely my favorite song off the EP. Then the use of different sounds in the songs, like the woman singing at the beginning of The Table Under The Trees and the crowd screaming in Behind Rita Hayworth, makes them even better.
The band slows it up on So Save Your Breath, a pretty, softer song with some thought-provoking lyrics. I especially like the end, quite beautiful. The lyrics are just wonderful. Some songs, such as The Table Under The Trees and Atheists And Foxholes, leave the interpretations of the plot of the stories up to the listener.
Cornflower Blue's lyrics are a little homage to something cool, which just delighted me when I found out the song's secret. When there is rhyming, it is not forced; it flows easily and well.
Not included on their EP The Plot Thickens is the song If Blood Mixes, another slower, but still addicting song. I just can't listen to this song without listening to it more than once. The clapping really enhances the song and complements it. Just the fact that the music and lyrics stand out so much from cookie cutter bands is great.
The fact that every song can be gotten for free is just the icing on the cake. I just cannot wait to see what the Remorse Code is capable of musically and how far the band will go (which I hope is very far).
Review by: Ashley
I think Ashley summed up The Remorse Code and all the songs on their EP and off perfectly, but I couldn't post this without sharing my personal thoughts as well.
The Remorse Code are a band that when I listened to them, I pretty much fell in love with their music right away...which is not normal for me at all, and I'm sure for most people. When it comes to new music, it usually takes awhile until I'm really loving it, because I need to keep listening to the music or keep listening to the lyrics...but like I said, it wasn't really the case with this band.
And hopefully, if Ashley and I get our way, some of you reading this will feel the same...and if not, then hopefully you will in time, like it does for most new bands you try and listen too.
I can say that it's definitel worth a listen. They have great music with great production, especially for being an unsigned band...they have great lyrics that don't sound like all the other bands out there...and they're still small! Okay okay...not the best reason to like or listen too a band, but you have to admit, it's cool to get into the bands when you can still talk to them, right? And you can talk to them...just add them on myspace...after you listen and love the music of course!
Again, I agree with Ashley about most things. My favorite song is probably Behind Rita Hayworth just like hers is, but all the songs are amazing. I can listen to Cornflower Blue over and over and over and...well, you get the point...and that's the truth for pretty much all their songs.
Our motto is this: We all wish for big things.
And we ALL wish for big things for The Remorse Code.
So listen. And if you think the same, let us know. But more importanly, let them and others know.
Author, Jennifer E. Smith, was kind enough to answer our questions about her novel The Comeback Season (including a one line summary!), her favorite books and authors, and what she is currently working on (and what we can now look forward too!).
1.Can you remember around the time you first became interested in being an author?
My school had a short story contest in fourth grade, and I won. I got to go down to the state capitol for a writing conference, and from then on, I was hooked. But there’s a big difference between liking to write and wanting to be an author. The first time I really considered it beyond just a hobby was in college, when a professor pulled me aside to ask if I’d ever thought of getting my MFA in creative writing. I remember it seemed so absurd to me at the time, that writing could potentially be a career. It was something I’d always dreamed about, but it was always just that – a dream. It seemed about as realistic as becoming an astronaut. So that was probably the first time I seriously considered it, though it still took a long time to get from there to here.
2.When you came up with the idea of The Comeback Season, what did you start out with (a character, an idea, etc.)?
It was kind of a combination of the character and the idea – I guess it really started with a scene. I’d been watching the Cubs lose for about the millionth time, and I just got this picture in my head of a girl on a train, heading down to Wrigley for Opening Day. The rest of the story kind of emerged from there.
3.Judging from The Comeback Season, you must know a lot about the Chicago Cubs. Am I right to assume you were a fan before you wrote the book? Do you yourself play the sport?
There’s a line in the book where Ryan tells Nick that she’s not a baseball fan, she’s a Cubs fan. That’s how it is for me, too. I love the Cubs, but wouldn’t have a clue if you tried to talk to me about most other teams. The book is very purposely non-specific in that way – it doesn’t name any players, or talk much about the particulars of the sport. I meant for it to be vague, to really stress the more romantic aspects of the Cubs and their history, and what all that represents.
4.The main character is named Ryan, which I love. Is there a specific reason for her having that particular name, especially since it's most commonly used for boys?
Even though she’s not necessarily a tomboy – her knowledge of sports begins and ends with the Cubs – I wanted her to have a somewhat boyish name. I thought it would suit the character. I thought of Ryan because my favorite Cubs player is Ryne Sandberg, but I decided to go with a more traditional spelling, and so ended up just making a little joke about it in the book.
5. If you had to write one sentence to sum up the book, what would you say?
A story about love, loss, and learning to hope.
6.What song or songs do you feel would suit the book?
Go Cubs Go? Take Me Out to the Ballgame? In all seriousness, I think if books had a soundtrack, this one would be pretty mellow, something soft and sweet and sad.
7. Is there anything specific that you hope people who read the book get out of it?
Just mostly a sense of hope. The book is very sad at times, but hopefully, it’s also optimistic. It’s all about comebacks, about overcoming the odds, enduring tough times, and holding on to that unwavering belief that things will get better. Because they always do.
8. If you had to cast your own book for a movie, who would you pick to play Ryan and Nick?
That’s a good question – I’ve never actually thought about it. Maybe the kids from Bridge to Terabithia, but I might just be saying that because it’s a similar kind of book. I’m not really sure!
9.How long did it take you to write the book?
It took about six months to write the full first draft. This book came a lot quicker than some other stuff I’ve written though. There was something about it that just clicked, and made it unusually easy to get down on the page.
10.What do you most enjoy about writing fiction geared towards teens/young adults?
When I got the idea for the book, I wasn’t necessarily setting out to write for teens. It just so happened that the main characters were that age. So I wrote it as I’d write anything else – sometimes people have the misconception that YA books are easy reading, but that’s not true at all. Most of the time, they’re not all that different from adult books, it’s just that they’re about younger characters. And in some ways, that makes it a lot more fun. Plus, I was a huge reader at that age, so it’s rewarding to be trying to reach that same audience.
11. Is there anything else you are currently working on?
Yes, another YA novel called You Are Here, which is a road trip story. It’s about a girl and a boy who think they’re very different, but when they set off to uncover a family secret, they end up discovering they’re a lot more alike than they first thought. It will be out in Summer 2009.
12.What are some of your own favorite books and authors?
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, of course. Probably to a somewhat embarrassing extent. Some of of my other favorites are The Great Gatsby, The Road, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The History of Love, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
13. If you could wish on a real shooting star, what would you wish for?
If you tell, it doesn’t come true!
Justin Chon starred as Tony in the Nickelodeon show Just Jordan, but this year, you will see him on the big screen!
He will be found in the movie Crossing Over, which is also stars Harrison Ford and Sean Penn, as well as in Twilight, based on the novel, in the role of Eric.
Recently, Justin answered some questions that we and other fans had about who he admires, a day in the life of a TV actor, what music he's been rocking, and of course...the insider info about his upcoming films!
1. You haven’t been acting for a very long time just yet, so what made you decide to start when you did? What do you most enjoy about being an actor?
I started acting because I thought it would be a fun and interesting job. When I was young there weren't many asians on tv so i thought it was an impossible dream but once i saw john cho in American Pie i told myself, alright ill give it a shot as a job and not a hobby.
2. Do you have a lot of people recognize you when you’re out? If so, what do they usually know you from?
haha, No not really. People will recognize me once in a while and its usually for either wendy wu or just jordan.
3. You played the role of Tony on the Nickelodeon show “Just Jordan.” When filming for a TV show, what was a typical day like for you?
Well, monday through wed we would have rehearsals. Thursdays and fridays were shoot days. It was just like a normal 9-5. After work I would usually go to an acting class.
4. You’ve acted on TV and for movies. Do you find you ever enjoy one more over the other?
I love all types of mediums including stage, tv, and film. But if I had to choose, I would say I like film the best because its like a summer camp. You meet all these new people, you work and live together and after its all done you say good bye and promise to keep in touch.
5. How do you prepare for your roles? Have you ever played a part that was difficult to get into at first?
I read the script many many times. I like to have a lot of time to let the role naturally sink into my bones. I think the most challenging role to date was my role in crossing over. Mainly becuase I was playing an immigrant and had a korean accent.
6. If you could have played any role in the history of movies, who would you pick and why?
These are good questions. Umm...i think I would have played I think his name was keno. in teenage mutant ninja turtles...I love those movies...hahaha
7. One of the next projects people can find you in is the movie Crossing Over. Will you give us a brief description of the movie and your role in it?
Crossing over is about different aspects of immigration. I play a korean immigrant teen whos having trouble adjusting to my new life in the US.
8. What was it like for you to be in a movie with such big name actors such as Harrison Ford and Sean Penn?
I didnt have any direct contact with either actor because there are different story lines. But i did meet Harrison Ford and he was super nice.
9. Who are some of your own movie idols?
Marlon Brando, James Dean, Johnny Depp, Mark Ruffulo, Robert Downey Jr.
10. You’ll be playing the role of Eric in the movie version of Twilight. Have you read the books? If so, had you read them before you got the part or when you were going out for the role?
I have read the books. And i did read part of the first one before getting the role becaue my friend had told me about it.
11. What was the audition process like for the movie?
I had to audition for casting, then audition for the director, then i had chemistry improv auditions with other actors and finally I auditioned with kristen Stewart.
12. Do you feel like you’re anything like Eric in real life? Who is your actual favorite character in the books?
I would say I'm similar in certain ways to Eric in that I try to keep it cool with everyone around me. He's sort of a mover and a shaker. My favorite character in the book is Emmet. He's just badass. He's so eager to kill enemies..
13. For this particular role, did you do any research on Eric and the novels?
Yes, I did do some research. and visited some of the online forums to get more info about everyone.
14. If you were given the chance to play one of the Cullen’s, who would you pick and why?
I would say I would play emmett...Like I said, he's is a bad ass mofo.
15. As far as you know, are there any plans of making New Moon into a movie as well? If so, do you hope to be in the sequel?
I have no idea at this point. But if there is I would love to be involved.
16. Personally, what books do you really enjoy? What are you currently listening too or watching?
Well, I enjoy reading biographies. I'm reading one on sean penn right now. I've been watching a lot of old movies like butch cassidy and the sundance kid and a ton of james dean movies. I've been listening to a lot of women artists these days like Meg and Dia and Sara Bereilles.
Actor Reece Thompson is still starting out in his career...being only 19. But being only 19, he seems to be headed in the right direction.
He starred in the film Rocket Science as the lead role, Hal Hefner, a stuttering boy who gets taken under the wing of a fellow student, Ginny, to become a part of the debating team.
This year, you'll be able to see him in the movie Assassination of a High School President...but unitl then, check him out on the web with some friends who star in their own hilarious videos... or what they call Jittas.
1.When did you first start getting involved with acting? What do you hope to be doing in the future?
I first got involved in acting when I was twelve years old. I left elementary school to be homeschooled, and I began going to an acting school which introduced me to an agent who I signed with and started attending auditions.
2.You’re a part of Jitterbug Productions. Who else is involved with this? How did the idea originate? What is the process to shoot a Jitta, from concept to screening?
Basically the Jitta started out just me and two friends shooting videos for fun. But the more we got involved with it the more serious we got. Usually the process involves a concept which is usually derrived from an inside joke, which blossoms into something else. And then we come up with a basic structure in which we improvise the dialogue. Then we cut it and upload it onto youtube. It usually takes us about a day from concept to viewing pleasure.We are trying to get more serious about it now, and script our sketches out, which usually gives us better results.
3.Since you’ve been the lead in films for the past two years at Sundance, what is that experience like for you?
Well it's been great. Obviously it's a dream come true. And it's very humbling when people talk to you the way they do at Sundance, and then I come home and nobody in my home town knows who i am, haha.
4.In both 'Rocket Science' and 'Assassination', you’ve worked with first time feature directors. How does this differ from working with a director who has been through the feature process before?
Well so far the only 'feature experienced' director I've worked with is Lawrence Kasden. And I didn't really find a big difference between working with him than with Brett and Jeff. I dunno if that's just because i've been incredibly lucky or I just picked the right first time directors.
5. In the movie Rocket Science, your character Hal has a stutter. How did you rehearse it? Was it hard to do or not really?
It just took time and practice. The director had a stutter so he talked me through it.
6.Are there any actors or directors that you would love to work with in the future? Have you worked with anyone already that you admire?
Well there are way too many people to name. I've barely begun in this career. And there are way too many people i admire.
7.What does you look for in a film project (script, director, budget, cast,etc) that helps you decide if you want to be associated with a project?
It all starts with the script. If I like the script and can read all the way through it without asking questions like, "why did that happen?" "That didn't make any sense," then I'm intrigued. I'm pretty picky though. If I read the first page and don't like it. I usually put it away.And when it comes to the director as long as we get along and see eye to eye then I'm down.
8.Who do you respect and admire as an actor for their career body of work?
Well I think Ryan Gosling is really smart. And Johnny Depp I suppose. he's made alot of good choices. But there are lots.
9.What are some of the nicest and/or craziest comments you’ve received from fans?
I have fans?
10.What is your idea of being successful in this business?
Having no regrets.
11.You were in an episode of the show Smallville in 2006. Had you previously been a fan of the show? What was filming a show such as Smallville like?
I was a fan when I was younger. But sort of grew out of TV in general for a while. And working on it was pretty fun. I got to work with two of my old friends, Devin Drewitz and Bryce Hodgeson.
12.When it comes to movies, people often take away various quotes that they always remember. Are there any from the movie Rocket Science that you particularly liked?
There's a Cello in your house now, is always a favorite.
13.If you weren’t involved with acting, what else would you like to do?
Writing, Directing. Something within the industry. Or some form of psychotherapist. I'm a good listener.
14.What are you currently working on at the moment? Is there anything people can expect from you anytime soon?
Not really. I haven't really got anything coming up right now, except for the release of Assassination. But hopefully something comes up. I'm always looking.
15.Finally, what are you listening too/watching/reading these days?
I'm listening to alot of indie stuff right now. Coconut Records, Ben Kweller, David Ford. And I do really like that fallen American Idol contestant, Josiah Leming. I think he has alot of talent.
Watching TV and reading books.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Her novel The PanicYears comes out this Tuesday, and starting this Tuesday, she’ll have a blog in the Myspace book section, so stay tuned for that!
Add her: www.myspace.com/thepanicyears
Now, read her blog!
The Panic Years:
Your best friend just picked out a $450 diamond-encrusted sleeping bag that you are to wear (after she insists you lose those last pesky 10 pounds) as a bridesmaid dress for her wedding that you can’t afford in the first place. Your loser college boyfriend who wasted five years of your life -- your best years in your dating prime! -- just announced he got engaged... to the girl he’s known for three months. Your loving albeit overbearing and over-concerned parents have opened up the dialogue about "freezing those eggs" -- and you’re only 27 years old!
Welcome to the Panic Years!
It’s a rough ride, but I’m Doree Lewak and as a reformed panicker, I’m going to help you get through them, with pride semi-intact.
The Panic Years are a mighty force. When the Panic gets its grip on you, it’s hard to disengage yourself from its hold -- and even harder to get a grip on reality. With successful coping tools and strategies, I want to help every SPS (self-pitying spinster) out there to overcome the Panic before it overruns your life!
I think it’s OK if you’re single and you want to get married; it’s not OK when you let the Panic Years conquer your life. My mantra: "Don’t get panicked, get proactive!"
So what if it has whittled down to just you and the five-year old flower girl for the bouquet toss at weddings? Who cares if you were just set up on the most miserable blind date experience of your life with "eccentric eye patch guy"? This is no reason to Panic -- and let the fear that "it will never happen for you" start to warp your way of thinking and undermine your sense of self.
To learn more or order the book, please check out www.thepanicyears.com or my MySpace book blog of the week -- I’d love to read your Panic posts!
Remember: Never let ’em see you Panic!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Add us and see more reviews, etc. on here:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Clay Jensen comes home to find a package at his door. No return address. Inside, he finds a box full of cassette tapes. As he plays the first tape, he hears her voice: Hannah Baker. Hannah Baker had committed suicide. So why was he hearing her on these tapes a couple weeks after she died? As he keeps listening, he realizes what the exactly the tapes are-Hannah's very own suicide tapes. The tapes recognize 13 people who played key roles in Hannah's decision to take her own life. Clay is one of them. But what number is he? And what exactly did he do? After all, he had a crush on Hannah Baker.
This book is absolutely amazing and definitely one that I feel anyone can read and enjoy. You can be a girl, a boy, a teen, or an adult. It doesn't matter, because it appeals to one thing we all have in common: our emotions. Clay is on the tapes, and as you listen, you hear about horrible things that people did to Hannah, so what did Clay do? Even as you read on, wondering, you can't stop from feeling sympathy for this kid who just doesn't understand. Hannah comes alive on the pages, with alternating points of view of Clay and her tapes. Thirteen Reasons Why answers a lot of initial questions you have about the book, but in the end, it leaves you with many more about life and your influences on other people.
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
Anna Bloom is a teen dealing with depression. After seeing a psychiatrist that doesn't help, her parents feel their last hope is to send her to a psychiatric hospital. Dropped off, not knowing how long she's going to be there, Anna begins her stay feeling understandably nervous. Ss time goes on and she begins moving up levels for good behavior, she finds that things aren't so bad. She meets a boy named Justin who becomes not only a friend, but a crush. She shares a room with a pregnant girl named Sandy, who must carry around a baby doll to learn how to care for her coming child. She even finds friends in unlikely people. More than that though, she begins to learn that it's okay to be yourself.
Get Well Soon is a book adorned with a frown on the front cover, but it's actually hilarious! This book is told in the style of letters that Anna writers to her friend Tracy, but never actually sends while she is in the hospital. You get inside her mind and find out exactly what she thinks about everything and everyone: the people she meets, the activities she has to participate in, even the food!
This book is by far one of my new favorites. Anna is a character I feel that will be relatable to many girls around the world, and it's definitely worth a read. As I read through the book, I was almost always laughing about something or curious about something. Two very good reasons that kept me reading! Now it's your turn!
Bad Girls Club by Judy Gregerson
Destiny is a teenager who essentially has to play mom. Her mom is slowly slipping away from the family and she's starting to lose touch on reality. As Destiny tries to help her mom, she also has to be there for her younger sister, Cassidy. Cassidy is getting hit. Destiny is getting yelled at. The dad doesn't want to put their mom in a hospital. And what happened at Crater Lake? What secrets are Destiny and her dad hiding from everyone around them? And when things start collapsing more and more, what will a young girl do when she only wants to keep her family together?
Just the title Bad Girls Club gives you a preconceived idea about the book, but I promise you, it's probably nothing like you might have first thought. This is a story about abuse and learning when you need to let go. Throughout this book, you'll be begging for Destiny to see the light and praying that it all turns out okay in the end. But you know, in life, it's hard to have a happily ever after.
Sisters in Sanity
by Gayle Forman
Brit Hemphill's parents met at a U2 concert and eventually got married. They traveled the world and finally settled down and opened up CoffeeNation, a place where artists and musicians came to hang out. This allowed Brit, an only child, to grow up around the likes of Kurt Cobain. It was, literally, the life.
Suddenly, she finds her self not on a family trip to the Grand Canyon but enrolled in Red Rock Academy. They call what they do there therapy, but it's more like "tough love" for girls they feel are out of control. Defiant Brit finds herself learning how to survive in a place where you fake it or you lose all control.
Soon, Brit finds safety in numbers when she forms a secret club with V, Bebe, Cassie, and Martha. Some of their "crimes" include being overweight, maybe being a lesbian, and being, let's say, a little too boy crazy.
This book is definite girl power, but beyond that, it's about trusting in your self and not backing down from what you believe in, even if the odds are against you. Forman shows that the things everyone seems to be so afraid of in a person are just one part of them. They are so much more.
I recommend this book to any and every girl out there, to show the meaning of being you and what friendship truly is.
Song to go along with this book: "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett
What I like to call Bebe's theme song.
An Open Vein
By: J.M. Warwick
John is sixteen and has just graduated from high school a year early. He's gifted, smart, but can he figure out the mess he's in now?
He comes to stay with a family friend, Kane, who lives in New York, but soon finds this friendly vacation turning into a life-changing experience.
Lies hidden from him are finally revealed. Kane has lived John's whole life as a third parent of sorts. Birthdays? He's there. School functions? Again, he's there. However, this summer, he finds out Kane wasn't just a good family friend. He is John's father.
Angry at his mom for keeping this secret and wanting to bond with Kane just as much as Kane wants to bond with him, John stays in New York and does as Kane wishes him too. But things start to get odd and John doesn't know what Kane wants anymore.
He finds himself without any clothes and being locked in his room without any food. It's all part of an experiment, Kane says. John plays along, often feeling angry and frustrated, but wanting to please Kane more than anything. This was his father. They'd missed out on so much already, he didn't want to mess it up now.
More and more happens over the summer that makes the bonding experience harder on both of them. Kane and John are being threatened by mysterious letters, making John an unwilling hermit. But more than that, John starts to question what Kane is doing and why. He's a doctor, his father. How could it be wrong?
This book is a psychological novel that keeps you guessing and wondering as the book goes on. You'll flip the pages frantically, yearning for all the answers. Short in length, but packed with content, it's a definite must-read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Just be warned: read the first page and prepare to be sucked into John's crazy.
Can you believe it?
By: Jessica Blank
Almost Home is a fictional view of the gritty life on the streets for a group of very different teens, but who have one thing in common: they're all running away from something. Some things are bigger, while some are smaller, but in their own eyes all of it is worthy of them to leave. We start off with a young girl named Eleanor who is taken under the wing of a veteran "street kid" named Tracy, who rechristens her Eeyore. But can a new lip ring and purple hair really make her belong? The story moves on to show the points of view of Rusty, Squid, Scabius, Critter, Laura, and even Tracy herself. However, when the only friends you have are the ones you keep close, who will survive this kind of life together?
These teens have different homes, different backgrounds, and different ways of dealing with things, but through this book you'll see their stories up close and personal. By the end of this book, you'll be stunned to think that though these seven may be make believe characters, there are people out there just like them.
If you like books about abuse, drugs, or trying to make it through, then this book is for you. But if you just like books that deal with real issues, this is most definitely for you as well. This book had me thinking of these characters as real people and I just wanted to reach through the pages and protect them as best as I could. I think really getting to know characters and feel for them is a good sign of a great book.
16+ (drug use, sexual references, etc.)
Review by: Lauren
Song to go along with this book: "City of Angels" by The Distillers