Thursday, July 30, 2009

Exclusive Interview With Hannah Moskowitz

Hannah Moskowitz is an 18- year-old young adult author. Her novel Break comes out on August 25. It has been compared to Fight Club by Booklist.

What do you make your readers to get out of BREAK?
I LOVE the idea of novels with classic YA problems--self-injury, in this case--that aren't problem novels. BREAK isn't a self-injury novel. It's a book with self-injury done in a new way. I want to take things we're all familiar with and switch them up. If I want a reader to think one thing after reading BREAK, it's that social issues are not one-dimensional. There is no definition for what it means to be sick, or hurt, or broken. Jonah isn't your stereotypical self-injurer.

Do you have a favorite work that you’ve written?
Yes, and it looks like no one will ever see it. ;) Maybe in a few years.

What are you looking forward to most about going to Brown?
I went to a very small school from second to twelfth grade, so I'm excited to be around people who don't know me. It's been a long time since I had the opportunity to make a first impression. I've changed a lot in the past few years, and I think a fresh start will give me the chance to embrace that.

Is there anything you are going to miss about high school? If so, what?
I'll miss a few friends, and living with my parents, but...I can't think of anything about high school specifically I'm going to miss. Writing about high school just reminds me how much I hated it! And I went to a great school, with great teachers, but...ugh, I just couldn't stand it.

Why do you like cats? How many do you have? Can you tell us about the adorable cat in the ARC picture on your blog?
I have six cats! I've had them ever since I was a baby. I guess that's why I like them so much. I grew up with them, so they're like family members. Even the ones who aren't mine
The picture on my blog is of Wednesday, my friend Grace's cat. She is absolutely precious, I know. Grace bought one of my ARCs online and sent that picture to me. I actually have a picture of my Lola cat with my ARC but...I can't find it.

What makes BREAK different from other books?
I think BREAK has a balance of humor and drama that a lot of YA books don't have. I'd consider BREAK a comedy, but it's very dark--it's definitely not your typical beach read. It's also pretty graphic; I didn't notice it myself too much, but I've had a lot of people comment that it freaks them out.
One of my motivations behind writing BREAK was that, after writing a different book about the tension between two brothers, I wanted to write one where the brothers got along. Jesse and Jonah have a lot of drama in BREAK, but they're best friends and have no problem letting each other know.

Lovely... I'm not so sure.

I definitely have to love the unique perspective and the general concept of Susie Salmon’s story. That being said, there were plenty of things I didn’t love. While the first chapter where Susie is raped and murdered, along with the following 10 pages or so, were certainly fast-paced, the rest of the book didn’t contain near the amount of excitement I was expecting. Up in her personal heaven, Susie watches the lives of those who held importance to her. This is the whole story( not much of a plot). Initially I thought this sounded very interesting. However few of the characters were overly likeable and I only felt a connection to one or two of them. Susie’s dad quickly figures out who the murderer is. Sadly, due to lack of evidence the police are unable to take action. His own wife doesn’t believe him, and this may be due to her fondness of the detective assigned to the case. Susie’s dad and a wacky acquaintance of Susie’s are the only ones who openly grieve throughout the book. All of the many other people she followed, with the exception of her murderer, seemed very unimportant to me. There were many wonderful metaphors and descriptive phases; unfortunately none of which a fourteen-year-old with average intelligence would ever think to use. I kept pushing through the book, just knowing there had to be a breath-taking ending, but it was not at all what I had hoped for. Overall I put the book down feeling a great deal of dissatisfaction. I had heard so many great things about this novel, and my expectations were sky high, so this could account for some of my disappointment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Twilight Déjà vu?

At the beginning of the book I have to admit I was a bit horrified. No, not because of the supposed murderer on the loose or Camelia’s near-death experience but the striking resemblance the book had to Twilight. After Ben rescues Camelia as from an out of control car in the school parking lot that was sure to hit her, they are assigned to each other as lab partners. Camelia quickly comes infatuated with Ben, even though her friends warn her against it. Camelia instantly feels a strong connection to him, but for an unknown reason he seems like he cannot stand to be around her! Sound familiar? It was like hello, we have all just read this exact plot! Not to worry though, Stolarz quickly redeemed her individuality (sorry no vampires here). One interesting twist she threw in is that the reader sees notes written by a stalker about Camelia that first seem only a little creepy. In the first part of the book, the stalker is assumed to be Ben, although you may want revaluate when the psycho factor escalates. Ben is the only one who knows just how much danger Camelia is in. Will Camelia trust Ben and his unusual power, to save her life? I still can’t completely look past the all too familiar, ordinary girl becomes involved with dangerous, mysterious boy. I suppose it’s popular for a good reason, it does make for an interesting story; I just would like to see something a little different. At least it wasn’t entirely predictable, I loved the mystery aspect in the book, and had lots of fun trying to figure it out myself, which proved to be a challenge! Despite the unoriginal theme, it was a generally very good book and I am anxiously awaiting the next in the series.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Top 10 Challenge

This was an extremly difficult decision for me. Out of all the books I have read and loved, I could only chose 10 to put on this list! Thankfully I was not forced to put them into any particular order; if that was the case, I don't know what I would have done with myself. After much deliberation, I finally compiled this list. I sure hope you enjoy it!

Pretty Little Liars
After reading a certain number of books they can quickly become all too predictable. This one however is not—at all. Just when I start think that I know who mysterious “A” is, something else pops up in the plot and I’m wrong again— but I like it!

So I basically read this in two hours if that tells you anything. It is very fast-paced; it had me sucked in by page one and just would not allow me to put it down! McMann keeps everything right to the point, using minimal descriptions and it works beautifully.

Fabulous Terrible The Adventures of You
This young adult novel written entirely in 2nd person was surprisingly quite smooth. The plot was very imaginative and exciting. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Gossip Girl
I’m slightly ashamed at myself for how much I enjoy these books. Not one of these characters has even decent morals but they are just so entertaining. This series makes an incredible, easy beach read.

How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls
While being fairly predictable with the Cinderella- story theme, the novel was cute, fun and enjoyed thoroughly!

The Junie B. Jones Series
I was first introduced to Junie B. when I was six years old. Barbara Park has such a great voice in these beginning chapter books; it really does seem as if they were written by a kindergartener! I laughed then and even now I still read them occasionally and laugh even more.
The Princess Diaries
This one of the few books I have reread several times. The whole series is laugh-out-loud funny and I could completely relate to Princess Mia going through everyday high school- freshmen awkwardness, but in addition I was also treated to the innovation of a real life fairy tale!

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things
I kind of felt forced to carry this book around with me everywhere I went for the whole day I reading it. I just couldn’t help but root for main character, Virginia as she faced issues with her family, friends, body image and of course—boys.

The Nature of Jade
This book definitely has more depth to it the most of the others on my list and was still a pleasure to read. When I finished it left me feeling inspired!

Chasing Harry Winston
While this novel would certainly be considered a beach read, I could honestly say I learned a few good lessons from main characters Leigh, Emmy and Adriana.

Mad Props to Audrey Niffenegger

Let me just start by saying, I loved this book! Okay, so the main character is a librarian who also happens to time travel. That sounds kind of lame, I know, but miraculously Audrey Niffenegger somehow pulls it off. Not only did she manage to put it in an order that made sense, it was just so good! The book jumps around in dates ranging from 1968 all the way to 2053. I have to admit the first few chapters I was a bit lost, although it didn’t take long for the story to click with me. When reading this novel, it is extra important to pay close attention to all the tiniest details, because there is so much foreshadowing that can be easy to miss.
It has been debated whether The Time Traveler’s Wife is a romance or science fiction book. The way Niffenegger equally divided the view points of both Clare and Henry with more focus on their love for each other than Henry’s Chromo- disease that causes him to time travel, leads me to conclude that this is a romance. Really, the main focus is Henry and Clare’s relationship that starts when she is only six, although Henry’s time traveling certainly is a huge conflict! Clare has to go through the first part of her life, waiting for Henry’s dispersed visits and, later on, having him randomly disappear from work or their home. Poor Clare never knows where he is and if he is safe. The fact that Henry can never bring anything with him when he travels (not even the underwear he is wearing!) can make things very dangerous and interesting to say the least. This makes him place less value of material things, and much more on relationships, especially his with Clare.
I very strongly recommend this book to anyone with a large imagination or someone who is just looking for a great love story. I couldn’t begin to understand anyone who would not, at the very least, appreciate the technicalities of the story, although rumor has it these people do exist.