Sunday, June 25, 2017

#SneakPeekSunday - Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Title: Fish in a Tree
Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Published: February 5, 2015
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Pages: 288


The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.

“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

Sneak Peek Review

I received a copy of this sneak peek from Nancy Paulsen Books through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

I still haven't learned my lesson about reading the book blurb before starting to read a sneak peek, but at least with Fish in a Tree, the things that the blurb would have told me were pretty easy to figure out just from the context clues. Granted, I wasn't sure if Ally was dyslexic or if she had some other less common issue with reading (she describes letters as swirling around on the page whereas it's my understanding that with dyslexia letters tend to just get flip flopped within words, but I only have a very basic understanding of dyslexia). While this is a problem that I believe would typically be figured out early on, because Ally's dad is in the military they move a lot, so Ally is always switching schools, and she slips through the cracks. The sneak peek says she's been in seven schools in seven years, so she's got to be in at least sixth grade (and I think that is the grade she's in based on the classroom dynamic). I'm astounded that a child could make it to sixth grade with dyslexia and no one would figure it out, but in her situation, I can accept that it happened. What fourth grade teacher gets a new kid mid school year and assumes that the behavior that seems like acting out is actually an inability to read? The kid doesn't have an IEP, nothing in her records indicates that she has problems with reading. Clearly she's just a problem child, right? 

Now I only just barely met Mr. Daniels in the sneak peek I read, but I like him (I'm supposed to like him I'm sure). Based on his reaction to Ally, and knowing that he discovers what is going on with her, I suspect that maybe he is also dyslexic, or that someone close to him growing up was. I just think that the fact that he came into the class mid-school year to take over while the class teacher is on maternity leave, and almost immediately suspects that there is more going on with Ally than she's letting on really indicates that he's pretty familiar with dyslexia and/or learning disabilities in general. And he's young and a substitute, so he likely doesn't have a whole lot of experience with teaching yet.   

I don't feel super compelled to finish reading this book. It's a middle grade book, so I feel like I can mostly fill in the major gaps in the rest of the story (I'm pretty good at predicting outcomes in middle grade books at this point in my life), I wouldn't be opposed to reading the rest of the book either though. However, I would absolutely buy this book for my children. Neither of them is dyslexic, but I think a book like this could likely help kids develop at least a little bit of empathy towards kids who learn differently than most, and since kids can sometimes be really mean, that would be a good thing. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Lynda Mullaly Hunt ( has received many honors for her debut novel, One for the Murphys, which is on over twenty state award lists, including Bank Street’s 2013 Best Books of the Year. She’s a former teacher, and holds writers retreats for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, impetuous beagle, and beagle-loathing cat.

Friday, June 23, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 24 June 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

Peterson Field Guide: Stars and Planets by Jay M. Pasachoff and Donald H. Menzel - This will be a great book to have if one of my children shows a fascination for astronomy. 
The Thief Taker by Janet Gleeson - Historical fiction, I think based on the cover. I like historical fiction, which is something you should know about me by now.
Eva Braun: Life with Hitler by Heike B. Gortemaker - I have always been fascinated by WWII and the Holocaust, so all I needed to see to know I wanted this book was Eva Braun. While I was perusing the rest of the books at the thrift store, another patron even asked if she could take a picture of this book so she could remember the title to look up (and presumably buy) later.
Sitting Bull by Peter and Connie Roop - This is a book from the In Their Own Words series, and I figure it could be an interesting way for the kids to learn about the life of Sitting Bull.
Sojourner Truth by Peter and Connie Roop - This is another book from the In Their Own Words series.
Lewis and Clark by George Sullivan - Yet another book from the In Their Own Words series. 
Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne - My daughter asked if we could get this Winnie the Pooh book "because it has paper in it." I don't let them buy board books at the thrift store anymore because we already have a lot and they can both read now. 
Diego Saves a Butterfly by Lara Bergen - This is a Go Diego Go beginner reader.
Toy to Toy by Tennant Redbank - A Toy Story 3 beginner reader.
The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide by Rick Riordan - I own at least one of the Kane Chronicles books, so I reckon this is a good addition to my collection.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Ultimate Guide by M.J. Knight (I guess) - I own several of the Percy Jackson books, so I needed this one.
Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell - I fell in love with the cover of this book. I believe it's steampunk based on the cover. It just looks really intriguing to me.

And that's all the books that I picked up at my thrift store this week. This haul cost me a whopping $4.50 (almost broke the bank it did). 

What books did you add to your shelves this week? - Katie 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

*Review* Feels Like Falling by Jillian Ashe

Genre: Science Fiction
Published: June 15, 2017


Kat lost everything when she was put in cryostasis. She woke up 500 years later than scheduled. Now she's part of a smuggling crew on the spaceship the Wolfegang where they take jobs that aren't always legal. Kat's just trying to blend in, but when the crew runs into some pirates she wonders exactly what she got herself into.


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection with the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review. 

So this is a stand-alone novella, and I feel like it does provide enough of the important information to get what's going on in this world, and having read future books in the series, I can say that there is nothing in this book that is necessary to know for future books. That being said, I would definitely recommend reading it before reading at least Far From Safe and Give Me Chaos if you are going to read those books too. This is not because you need to read it for those stories to make sense, but because you may spend an inordinate amount of your time reminding yourself that certain things haven't happened yet in Feels Like Falling if you read FFS and GMC first. I know, because it happened to me.

This novella is absolutely action packed. It feels like a lot happens in a very short amount of time, partially because the bulk of the story only spans like a day or so, but it doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount of action (if that makes sense.) All the action made the story move along at a brisk pace though, so I felt like I basically flew through the story, and I was hesitant to put it down because I needed to know what was going to happen next (even though I already knew the basic outcome). I just needed to know how they got there.

I would definitely recommend this book and series to people who like reading about strong female characters, although Kat hasn't really come into her own quite yet at this point (but she wakes up after being in cryostasis for 500 years and manages to do alright, so that's a bit of an achievement too.)

5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

My readers are what's important to me. Yes, I write for myself and the enjoyment of it, but I adore when a reader actually has a great time reading a story I slaved over. I don't write any particular genre, but I do stick to kick-ass female characters. I love writing about all types of differently strong women. My debut series is Young Adult Science Fiction. The first novella is free to see if you enjoy what I write.

I'm very involved with my fandoms, and love all things geeky and nerdy. I love connecting with my readers, so if you'd like to contact me just head over to my website :)

Jillian Ashe

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

*Review* The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Genre: Dystopian
Published: September 29, 2015
Pages: 308


Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin.
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes.
At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.


This is actually July’s book club book, but I’m pretending I’m on top of things and I’ve finished it a month early. It probably helps that I put a hold on it at the library and ended up getting it 2 weeks earlier than intended. I guess thank you to whomever had it right before me, and ended up finishing it in a day or two and returning it early.

First of all, when I read this I recognized the author but never thought to look up how I knew her. She’s the freaking writer of The Handmaid's Tale. I can be a bit slow at times. Anyway, holy shit balls. I just saw this was dystopian and assumed that meant it would be a YA. This is NOT a YA, and my life is a lie.

While reading this, I couldn’t help but think of Fallout. And that made me sad, because I messed up my leg and it really hurts to sit up. Which means I can’t actually play it, even though I totally bought the 4th one when it was half off last month. So this book brought up real life sadness.

But seriously, holy gawd damn.

I don’t even know how to word how I feel about this blasted thing. I know it was fascinating and compelling and hard to put down. It was much better than The Handmaid’s Tale, in my opinion. But it’s dystopian, and that means lots of sadness. And there is totally lots of it.

There’s also some amusing bits, mind you. Like… Elvis related amusing things. Also the ways of vindication of certain actions. But at the same time, the retaliation is also sad.


And made me miss fallout 4.

Also it made me think about a lot of things. And I can’t wait to discuss this at book club next month.

4/5 Platypires - Joood - Hooligan

Buy the Book

About the Author

MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and her most recent, Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Monday, June 19, 2017

#SneakPeekSunday - King Dork by Frank Portman

Title: King Dork
Author: Frank Portman
Genre: YA Humor
Publication Date: April 11, 2006
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 344


The cult favorite from Frank Portman, aka Dr. Frank of the Mr. T. Experience, is a book like nothing ever done before--King Dork literally has something for everyone: At least a half-dozen mysteries, love, mistaken identity, girls, monks, books, blood, bubblegum, and rock and roll. This book is based on music--a passion most kids have--and it has original (hilarious) songs and song lyrics throughout.
When Tom Henderson finds his deceased father’s copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, his world is turned upside down. Suddenly high school gets more complicated: Tom (aka King Dork) is in the middle of at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, a secret code, girls, and rock and roll. As he goes through sophomore year, he finds clues that may very well solve the puzzle of his father’s death and—oddly—reveal the secret to attracting semi-hot girls (the secret might be being in a band, if he can find a drummer who can count to four.
A brilliant story told in first person, King Dork includes a glossary and a bandography, which readers will find helpful and hilarious.

Sneak Peek Review

I received a copy of this sneak peek from Delacorte Press through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

I spent the entirety of this sneak peek trying to figure out what era this book is set in. I've ultimately decided that it's early 80s, but maybe it's late 70s, honestly it was rather difficult to peg it, but it does not have a timeless feeling, so I really want to know when it was set. I thought the synopsis would tell me (and I once again made the mistake of not reading that thing before starting the sneak peek), but as you can see, it doesn't. And frankly, this is kind of bugging me. 

Maybe it's because I spent so much time reading the book trying to figure out when it was set, but I just did not feel any sort of connection with the main character, the King Dork. He really just came across as a jerk who also happens to get picked on by the jocks. I guess maybe I'm supposed to feel sorry for him because he gets picked on, and I probably would if he didn't come across as such a tool. But it's kind of hard to feel sorry for a guy who is basically a self-avowed jerk. 

At this point, I don't feel any desire to even try to finish reading this book. If I had a full copy of the book instead of just the sneak peek, I might actually be fine DNF'ing it even, and I basically never DNF books. I am perfectly content to just be done with this book. And maybe it redeems itself in the next few chapters, but it just did not grab my attention and I will not be continuing it. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

I am also known as Dr. Frank, and I write books and songs.

***The paperback edition of King Dork Approximately is out now, and includes a free download of the accompanying King Dork Approximately the Album. Basically if you want the book it comes with a free album and if you want the album it comes with a free book.***

I've put out a couple of solo records, and my band The Mr. T Experience (MTX) has released around a dozen albums or so over the years.  

King Dork is my first novel. Andromeda Klein is my second. King Dork Approximately is my third.

Behold, my web presence: (blog)
Sounds Radical webstore:

My interests include tomatoes, swords, guitars, calculators, movies, TV, and things made of vinyl, wood, and metal.

*Deja Revu* 19 June 2017

Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

*Review* The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: September 6, 2016
Pages: 384


As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young French woman closes the door to her late grandmother’s treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she’ll ever return. 

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path. 

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.


This was a book club choice, so I probably would never have noticed it on my own. It’s not something that’s in my general interest, although I’ve been trying to become more open minded with the books that I read.

I found this story to be fascinating. I love how the author took a real life event and, after a couple years of research on the subject, wrote a believable story about it. This is a real life fanfiction, and that is glorious.

Although I didn’t expect to much care for this story, I am pleased to say I was a fool. I really enjoyed it. I really need to give historical fiction more of a shot.

This book tells the story of two women, Solange and her grandmother, Marthe. Two incredibly different people that are connected only by blood. But both of their stories were equally compelling.

The author painted a wonderful picture of Paris from two different generations, and that was fabulous. My favorite part of reading this is how I was introduced to the life of a demimondaine with Marthe. Because of that I have become more open minded about that time and type of relationships. And it is fascinating.

With Solange, it’s the beginning of German occupation in France during WWII. And her mother was Jewish, so she’s having to navigate that as well as her affections for a Jewish man. All while trying to stay safe and find a better life for herself. And there are all sorts of feels in her parts. And some are kind of cliche, but that’s okay. Because they fit perfectly and was absolutely necessary.

⅘ Platypires - Joood - Hooligan

Buy the Book

About the Author

Alyson Richman is the international bestselling author of The Garden of LettersThe Lost WifeThe Last Van GoghThe Rhythm of Memory, and The Mask Carver’s Son. She lives in Long Island, New York, with her husband and two children.

Friday, June 16, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 17 June 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter - I was totally drawn in by the title, not going to lie. 
The Revenge of Captain Paine by Andrew Pepper - It's historical fiction with a blue cover and the title made me think of pirates, it's probably not about pirates at all, but that was still my first impression. 
American Gods by Neil Gaiman - I've heard good things about this book and it's been on my Amazon wish list for a while. Getting a paperback copy for a quarter was a major score for me. 
The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories edited by Theodore W. Goosen - This book is full of highlighting and notes in the margin. Also, it should give some insight into Japanese culture, I hope. 
Cat Among the Pigeons by Julia Golding - I have a British copy of this book, and the cover is freakin' amazing. Yes, I absolutely bought this book because of the cover. 
Horton Halfpott: or The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset by Tom Angleberger - The cover looks super fun. 
Ghosts Do Splash in Puddles by Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey - This is a Bailey School Kids book, and I was a fan of those when I was a kid, so when I find them now, I snatch them up. 
Attack of the Crocodiles by Greg Farshtey - This is a Lego Legends of Chima book that my daughter requested we get. I can't say no to a book request from my kids. 
Double Trouble Monsters by Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey - This is a Bailey City Monsters book, which is totally different than the Bailey School Kids books, except probably not really. 
The Snow Day From the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - I think the Black Lagoon books would appeal to a young boy, and I have one of those that I want to encourage to read, so I buy these books when I find them. 
The 100th Day of School from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - It's PCS season, which means that families are purging their belongings to make weight for moves. There were several Black Lagoon books at the thrift store this week. 
The Talent Show from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - See above.
The Science Fair from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - 'Tis but a scratch.
The School Carnival from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - A scratch? Your bloody arm's off.
April Fools' Day from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - I've had worse. Have at you.
The Class Trip from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - You are indeed brave sir knight, but the fight is mine.
The Class Election from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler - What are you going to do, bleed on me?
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1 by Dav Pilkey - I know some parents oppose to their children reading the Captain Underpants books, but I feel like anything that gets kids interested in reading is a good thing. 
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 2 by Dav Pilkey - How lucky for me to find parts 1 and 2 in the same week!
Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets by Dav Pilkey - More Captain Underpants.
Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey - Holy crap that title is a mouthful. Great opportunity to increase vocabulary though. 
Goosebumps: How I Learned to Fly by R.L. Stine - Y'all, I can't even begin to describe how excited I get when I find Goosebumps books at my thrift store. Like my kids even know right away that I found a Goosebumps book because I squeal like a school girl. 
Goosebumps Horrorland: Escape from Horrorland by R.L. Stine - I was really hoping to find even more Goosebumps books this week, but no such luck. Someone else probably beat me to them.
Unicorns Don't Give Sleigh Rides by Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey - It's another Bailey School Kids book. And it's about unicorns. What's not to love. 
Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border - This is another book that my daughter asked for. She promised that she'll read it to me though, so it was absolutely worth buying. 

So that's all the books I picked up this week. Most of them are for my children, so hopefully they appreciate them. Once again, I don't remember how much I spent on these books because we bought a couple other things as well, but my total purchase was like $16, so it was definitely a major score. 

What books did you add to your shelves this week? - Katie 

Monday, June 12, 2017

*Deja Revu* 12 June 2017

Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

#SneakPeekSunday - Be True to Me by Adele Griffin

Title: Be True to Me
Author: Adele Griffin
Genre: YA Historical Romance
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 352


It's the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, where feathered hair and the Bicentennial celebration reign. Jean, a sometimes cruel, often insecure, and always envious rich girl, is accustomed to living in her glamorous older sister’s shadow. So when Gil Burke, a handsome newcomer with uncertain ties to one of the most powerful families in the exclusive enclave of Sunken Haven, notices Jean—not her sister—Jean is smitten. Then Fritz, a girl from outside the gilded gates who humiliated Jean in the Island’s tennis championship last year, falls for Gil herself. Soon the girls are competing for much more than a tennis trophy, with higher stakes than either of them can imagine.

Told through the alternating perspectives of Jean and Fritz, as they experience feeling like an outsider and first love.

Sneak Peek Review

I received a copy of this sneak peek from Algonquin Young Readers through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

I really need to start reading book blurbs before I start reading books I think. There were some details of this book that had me seriously questioning things, like $10 covering the cost of two hamburgers at a bar/restaurant in NYC. That's so not realistic in 2017 (but if you read the blurb unlike me, you'll see this book is set WAY before 2017.) The thing is, the characters behavior and actions for the most part felt pretty modern (granted 1976 wasn't THAT long ago, although I hadn't yet set foot on this planet), so I didn't have a lot of context clues to tell me that this was historical fiction. The biggest one was probably that a 17 year old girl took a guy to a bar and no one batted an eye, but I've seen Gossip Girl; underage children from the upper East side of NYC have no problem getting into bars and drinking. So don't do what I did and forget that this book is set in the 70s. Those details make way more sense when you know in which period the book is set. 

Now I only had a sneak peek of this book, so I only got to read the first few chapters, which means I'm not feeling a particular connection to either of the two main characters (I assume Jean and Fritz are the main characters since the book alternates between their POVs). That being said, at the moment, I love Jean and kind of loathe Fritz, but not just because of how Jean feels about her. Her attitude in her first chapter got on my nerves something fierce. 

It was pretty obvious to me that Jean and Fritz would both be into Gil, even before I got to the chapter where Fritz meets Gil, and I have a feeling that Gil is going to play that for all it's worth (which is sad because I really liked him in the first chapter, but I would quickly lose respect for him if he leads both girls on). 

I felt like this book had a bit of a Dirty Dancing vibe to it (which really should have clued me in to the fact that it's not set in the present, but again, Gossip Girl taught me that rich New Yorkers summer outside of the city). So if you liked Dirty Dancing, there's a chance you may like this as well. Just remember, I only had a sneak peek, so I don't know what the whole book is like. 

While I typically enjoy historical fiction, this is a bit too recent for my tastes, and I don't feel any strong urge to continue the story myself. I'm only a little bit curious how things play out between Jean, Fritz, and Gil, and I imagine I can appease that curiosity with some spoiler filled reviews in a few weeks. So I will very likely not be buying a copy of this book any time soon. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Adele Griffin is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers, most recently The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone. Adele lives with her husband and children in Brooklyn, New York.

*Review* Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Genre: YA/LGBT Romance
Published: May 28, 2013
Pages: 320


The award-winning novel about being out, being proud, and being ready for something else . . . now in paperback.

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate break down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate feeling different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.


I have been meaning to read this book for a couple years now, since I saw Sofia's review. It looked really interesting, but I kept putting it off. After finally reading this book, I am kicking myself for having not read it before. Because the author was at a book signing I went to recently... and I had a chance to meet him. But I didn't go because I am lame. Although I really didn't have many expectations about this book. I was completely thrown off by everything that happened. I just expected something different. But I did really enjoy this book. I found it frustrating how Rafe felt the need to completely hide a part of himself so as to fit more into society, and I think maybe this was because I know he was able to make his decisions from a place of privilege. that is not to say that I did not understand why he made his decisions, I just didn't agree with most of his choices. It was really quite interesting to see this person go from a home and Friends where he is open with his sexuality to a whole other place where he feels the need to hide who he is away from people. That's pretty much the opposite of most LGBT stories I've read. One thing that I was really quite fond of was the nerdy type of romance between two of the characters. Nerdy Romance is the best romance. I really did enjoy this book and I recommend it as an alternative point of view from somebody society views as different wanting to try and fit in. 4/5 Platypires - Joood - Hooligan

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About the Author

Bill Konigsberg was born in 1970 in New York City. Expectations were high from birth - at least in terms of athletics. His parents figured he'd be a great soccer player, based on his spirited kicking from inside the womb. As it turned out, the highlight of his soccer career was at Camp Greylock in 1978, when he was chosen for the Camp's "D" team. There were only four levels. Bill played alongside the likes of the kid who always showered alone, the chronic nosebleeder and the guy with recurrent poison ivy.

A B- student and adequate junior varsity athlete throughout high school, Bill was voted Most Likely to Avoid Doing Any Real Work In His Life by a panel of his disinterested peers. He proved them wrong with a series of strange-but-true jobs in his 20s - driver recruiter for a truck driving school, sales consultant for a phone company, and temp at Otis Elevators.

He worked at ESPN and from 1999-2002, where he developed a penchant for sharing too much information about himself. That character flaw earned him a GLAAD Media Award in 2002, for his column "Sports World Still a Struggle for Gays." 

As a sports writer and editor for The Associated Press in New York from 2005-08, Bill once called his husband, who was at the time working a desk job, from the New York Mets dugout before a game. "I'm so bored," Bill whined. He slept on the couch for a week after making that call.

He wrote a novel called Audibles at Arizona State, and sold that novel to Penguin in 2007. His editor asked him to change the title so that it would appeal to people other than "football players who read." The resulting novel, Out of the Pocket, received strong reviews from his mother, father, significant other and one girl who had a crush on him in high school. It won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009. 

His second novel, Openly Straight, hit the bookshelves in late May of 2013. He describes the novel as "Twilight-like, only without vampires and wolves and angsty teenage girls. Also, set in an all-boys boarding school in Massachusetts. Otherwise, it's like an exact replica." That novel won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, which made him an unbearable dinner companion for months thereafter.

His third novel, The Porcupine of Truth, was released in May of 2015. He chose to put a porcupine in the title because this is America, and no one here knows what a platypus is. The novel won the Stonewall Book Award.

His forthcoming book is Honestly Ben, a companion book to Openly Straight. He wrote it so people would stop yelling at him about Openly Straight's ending. Honestly Ben will be published in March of 2017.

Bill currently lives in Chandler, Arizona, which is the thinking man's Gilbert, Arizona. He has a husband who is clearly too good for him, and two cute dogs, Mabel and Buford, who complete him.