Ned Vizini Talk, Signing and Book Swap

Ned Vizzini is one of the most over-looked by bloggers, and one of the most awesomely awesome YA authors out there at the moment. Ned spends his time writing real stories and when he is not doing that he is going around the nation talking to teens about his experiences with mental illness and telling them that they are not freaks for feeling this way, that it is okay to call a suicide hot line if they need to, and more than that, no matter if their friends think it is uncool. It is more than okay to get help. In my eyes Ned is a hero. When I met him last year in May at the Teen Author Carnival, I knew I was destined to fall in love with his works. He showed up in a full suit and has a sideways smile and always looks a tad bit uncomfortable even when it’s obvious he is not. I bought Ned’s book which he signed in red sharpie and I brought it home from New York and devoured it. It was a story of a boy who called the suicide hot line but it was Friday so he was sent to the over flow, so he walked to the hospital and checked himself in, and then the teen ward was full so he spend two weeks in the adult world. Those experiences changed Craig’s life forever. This book is loosely based on Ned’s life. If you never buy another book because I said so, then buy this one.

I introduced Ned by saying that I found out he was coming to the area by lurking on his Facebook page. He then talked about all three of his books and answered audience questions. I asked about the book he is writing now, I promised not to Tweet or post about his answer but it is going to be fabulous! He then signed a ton of books for the crowd, I bought Teen Angst, an anthology of short stories by Ned that may be based again on his life but I don’t know that for sure. Then we had the book swap.

I brought The Silver Kiss, Ned brought The Card Turner which I ended up bringing home and Nancy from Ravenous Reader was running so late she forgot her bag and the only book she had in her car was New Moon (HA!) so she took that one back herself.Debbie’s World of Books was in attendance but she didn’t want to touch New Moon either. In her defense she had it in the car because she was doing some artwork with the text for a friend. The teens brought some great books. Uglies which I love, 8th Grade Stinks and more. It was a fabulous night. If you ever get the chance to see Ned live you should. I am going to post a couple of pics but you can click through to Flickr to see the rest.

Me and Ned

Ned is very photogenic

Small bit of the crowd

Ned signing the wall at Hicklebee’s

Cool edit of Ned’s Signature my husband did

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Review: Tangled by Carolyn Mackler

From Goodreads: Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen are all at Paradise—the resort in the Caribbean, that is—for different reasons, but in Paradise their lives become tangled together in ways none of them can predict. Over the course of four months, through four voices and four stories, what happened in Paradise will change them all.
In this extraordinary novel, the Printz Honor–winning author brings us her most accomplished work yet. Tangled is a story of the secrets we keep, the risks we take, and the things we do for love.

It’s not very often that something comes along here at that denotes a five star rating. However Carolyn Mackler has wowed me with her latest release from HarperTeen. Tangled is an amazing coming of age story following not one but four awesome personalities on their journey.

The book is broken up into four parts and each part was heartbreaking, funny, and relate-able. It was so easy to slip into the mood of each part and at the end of each part you are hungry for more. The characters had so much depth a book could be devoted to each of the characters.

You start with Jena, a ‘luscious’ if not a bit overweight Jewish girl from upstate New York who has a hard time realizing she is beautiful because she is constantly comparing herself to other girls. We follow Jena on vacation where she meets Dakota who turned out to be a total pain in the jock, and treated her horribly. What I really liked about Jena is that she had the balls to figure out it wasn’t her. She was worth more. I applaud you Jena!

We move on to Dakota whose girlfriend died in a car accident while cheating on him with another guy. We follow his pain and how juvenile he is in dealing with his loss. We get to watch him grow up in a family that isn’t all about the support. He learns to find his own way and his journey is mind-blowing.

Then it is on to Skye who is the epitome of spoiled NYC socialites. She has it all, cool mom, lots of money, acting gigs lined up, an agent. She has never thought about her Dad and how he died. She accepted her Mother’s story. As she finds out the truth she begins to question if she is in fact just like the man who she never new and makes horrible choices.

We finish the book with Owen who had me laughing out loud. Dakota’s brother who lives with their Mother he is outlandishly funny and has a good sense of self. He knows and accepts his limitations. He blogs, he is a computer geek. His Mom sends him to this weekend camp to learn how to make friends in real life. He ditches and goes to see Jena at her internship in NYC.

An amazing book, a thoroughly fun and exciting romp through the teen-age mind. I applaud Carolyn Mackler and if you haven’t read one of her books you probably should. I know I am picking up the awesomely titled The Earth My Butt and Other Big Things this weekend. If you have read and liked Laurie Halse Anderson, or Judy Blume, pick up Tangled!

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