Archive for the ‘Julie Anne Peters’ Category

For those of you who haven’t become jaded regarding Valentine’s Day or those of you who want vicarious romance, here are a few good teen romance authors.

There are the old standbys like Sarah Dessen, Julie Anne Peters and Jennifer E. Smith. But there are a few new authors on the horizon. Morgan Matson, Sara Farizan, Emory Lord and Nina LaCour. Here are some books from the newer authors for you..books you might not have heard of

TellMeAgainTell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan – Leila, an Iranian American teen, attends a private high school, where her parents have high expectations for her future. She has made it to her junior year without romance complicating her life, and that’s just fine with her. Leila would just as soon not have everyone find out that she likes girls. But when beautiful, confident, worldly Saskia breezes into the narrator’s life, everything turns upside down.

LastForeverThe Last Forever by Deb Caletti – After a trying bout with cancer, Tess’s mother has died, but she’s left behind a one-of-a-kind pixiebell plant. When her impulsive, pot-smoking, less-than-dependable father takes her on an extended road trip to the Grand Canyon, Tess brings the plant with her, but keeping it alive during their journey through the desert is a struggle. Unexpectedly, Tess’s father brings her to the home of his mother, an artist Tess barely remembers. Tess is in for some life-changing lessons about old family grudges and secrets held by new acquaintances, including a boy who makes it his mission to help Tess save the withering pixiebell, and wins her heart in the process.

SecondChanceSummerSecond Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – Seventeen-year-old Taylor and her family-her mother, father, older brother, and younger sister-are off to the Poconos for the summer, whether everyone wants to or not. Taylor falls in the latter category. Returning to their lake house after a five-year absence fills her with dread: she’ll have to face her estranged best friend as well as the boy she left without saying goodbye.


EverythingLeadsToYouEverything Leads to You by Nina LaCour – Eighteen-year-old production design intern Emi is getting over her first love and trying to establish her place in the Los Angeles film industry. Set during the summer before her freshman year of college, Emi spends days designing sets for a blockbuster, and, later, a low-budget indie film (complicated by the presence of her ex, also working on both films). When she and her best friend Charlotte find a letter hidden in the possessions of a recently deceased Hollywood film legend at an estate sale, they begin searching for its intended recipient. Eventually that leads to Ava, a beautiful teen to whom Emi is immediately attracted.

OpenRoadSummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord – Reagan joins her best friend Delilah’s summer concert tour to escape some poor decisions and break some bad habits, finding romance and complication instead.





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LiesThere is something about a Julie Anne Peters novel that makes me keep on reading.  Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is soft and sweet. It is, in some ways, innocent and in some ways not. It’s got great characters and a good plot.

Alix’s mother wakes her up with really bad news. Her girlfriend, Swanee, died of cardiac arrest in the middle of her daily run. How can that happen to a 17 year old girl? They had only been going out six weeks. It wasn’t long enough. Now it will never be long enough. Alix is devastated.

While in Swanee’s room, after her death, Alix hears Swanee’s phone ping with a text message. It’s from L.T., whoever that is. There are dozens of texts: where are you, why didn’t you meet me, i love you….. Alix forces Swanee’s sister, Joss, to tell her who L.T. is. And it turns out, she’d rather not know, because Swanee was dating her at the same time she was dating Alix.

Alix steals the phone and, for two weeks, texts L.T. back, as if she was Swanee. But then she realizes that L.T. would want to know what happened and they meet.

That’s enough of the story to get you going. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is tender. It’s realistic. It’s romantic. So, if you’re a Julie Anne Peters fan, if you’re a romantic, if you like a good story, then read Lies My Girlfriend Told Me. I couldn’t put it down.KeepingYouASecret

And let’s not forget my all time favorite Julie Anne Peters book, Keeping You a Secret. So, pack them both in your bag as you leave for vacation or the beach.

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I was lying awake thinking the other night (I don’t know why) that if I had to pick six books to show someone who grew up on Lois Duncan, the width and breadth of YA literature today, which books would I choose? Everyone has their favorites and there are obviously multiple combinations of six books to illustrate my point, but here are mine.

SmallDamagesLiterary YA FictionSmall Damages by Beth Kephart (or any Beth Kephart book). Beth takes pains to get the words right and the result are wonderful, sometimes ethereal prose narrating engrossing stories.

WintergirlsIssue Driven FictionWintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (or any of her books). Speak, about rape, is obviously the most well known, with the movie starring a young Kristen Stewart, but all of Anderson’s books deal with real issues faced by teens.

KeepingYouASecretLGBTQKeeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters.  Keeping You a Secret is one of Peters’ earlier books portraying lesbian relationships and remains one of my favorites to this day. However she deals with all sorts of gender issues, from Luna (transgender) to gender neutral proms.



RevolutionHistorical FictionRevolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Donnelly, whose earlier work, A Northern Light won the Carnegie Medal, goes back and forth between current day and the French Revolution.

EonScience Fiction/FantasyEon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eona: The Return of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman. Goodman combines action with signs of the zodiac in a spine tingling fantasy.

FaultInOurStarsIllnessThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green discusses the relationship between two teens having debilitating and potentially fatal diseases.





As we who read YA literature know, it has come a long way from the Lois Duncan days. And while Lois Duncan’s books play a significant role in the reading lives of teens, even today, there is a whole big wide world of YA literature out there begging to be read. I know I’ve left out great YA authors such as Lauren Oliver, Jordan Sonnenblick, Jennifer Brown. The list is endless.

I’m sure your List of Six is different than mine, so feel free to send me yours. I’d be interested.




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Abbe and I spent a wonderful day yesterday. We covered about 425 miles. Yikes! Our initial destinationBug was the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. You know you’re there by the Bug in front of the museum. Our goal was to view the exhibit of Barbara McClintock’s artwork for the book Leave Your Sleep, a companion to Natalie Merchant’s amazing CD of the same name.LeaveYourSleep

Of course, another goal was to get Ms. McClintock and Ms. Merchant to autograph a copy of the NatalieMerchantbook, which they did. A tremendous BarbaraMcClintockexhibit, it was. McClintock’s work is so detailed. The more you look at it the more you see. Of course, I had to buy some of her other books there.

Our next stop was Rogers Book Barn in Hillsdale, NY. On the way, Rogerswe passed the Circle Museum (didn’t stop in), which is apparently an artist’s memorial to himself. Oh well. It was someone’s 15 minutes of fame. That was an hour of searching the various nooks and crannies for the perfect book. We each some luck in that area.

On the final leg of our journey, dinner was in order and I remembered this diner that Lisa and I went to on the way home from Williamstown, which has great egg creams DailyPlanetand malts. I had a vague idea where it was and this time my memory served me well. Dinner at the Daily Planet. Each room is decorated in a decade theme, 1940s, 1950s, etc. with movie posters and other memorabilia. I had the Duke of Earl Egg Cream with my burger. Yummmm!

When I finally got home at 9:30 PM, after starting at at 7 AM, the only thing I wanted was my bed. It was a great day.

Plus, to top it off, Abbe gave me an advanced copy of Julie Anne Peters’ Lies My Girlfriend Told Me and the first season of Veronica Mars. Got lots of reading and viewing to do.


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As 2013 meandered into 2014, there were four books I was looking forward to reading:

ImpossibleKnifeOfMemory1. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson – published in January. I’ll review that shortly, but suffice it to say, it lived up to my expectations.

2. Panic by Lauren Oliver – to be published in MarchPanic


3. Going Over by Beth Kephart – to be published in April. I’m so excited because I have an advanced reader’s copy in hand. Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait.

4. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters – to be published in June. My wonderful daughter got me an advanced readers copy of it at ALA Midwinter Conference.LiesMyGirlfriendToldMe

So, going into February, I will have read three out of the four books I’ve been looking forward to. What can be better than that? Four out of four? Hey, I’m OK with waiting until March for Panic.

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It’s difficult to live in a small town when you’ve grown up in the big city.AskThePassengers It’s difficult to live in a small town when your mother hides away in her home office and your dad’s a secret stoner. It’s difficult to live in a small town when you’re gay or questioning. So, life for Astrid Jones is difficult.

In addition, her mother doesn’t talk to her, preferring Astrid’s year younger ‘pefect’ sister, and her father’s either not around physically or too stoned to carry on a decent conversation. So, Astrid spends time looking up at the sky, sending her love to passengers on the planes flying overhead.

When Astrid’s catering co-worker, Dee, expresses interest and Astrid’s gay friends, Justin and Kristina, illicitly spirit her away to a gay bar on a Satuday night (under the guise of Astrid’s date with a guy), she is faced with a dilemma. What is she? Does she fit into a box?

I had no idea what Ask the Passengers was about when I picked it up. It was recommended by an author whose opinion I value. But, I read Ask the Passengers by A.S. King way into the night, I couldn’t wait to find out what happens. Astrid’s questioning is so real and the pressure she feels as Kristina and Dee push her to come out when she’s not ready is palpable. Her family dynamics, pushy mother/benign father, is true in so many families, I’m betting.

King, every now and then, tells a story about a passenger on one of the planes Astrid sends her love to. If you believe that our thoughts may travel through space and impact some unknown person (and I do because the cosmos is an amazing place and I think things happen way beyond our imagination), then Astrid’s love sending does somehow influence the universe.

And finally, the devil/angel on Astrid’s shoulder in the form of Socrates (she’s studying the philosophers in Humanities class) just adds to the enjoyment. Some people have a knack for telling a good story. It’s evident that A.S. King, indeed, has that gift.

I will tell you that my all time favorite book on this subject is still Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters. That may never change. But, if you want a new version of this story, one that will keep you reading into the night, then Ask the Passengers will fit that bill.

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Wow! I can’t believe I never posted this. So, even though it’s out of date, here it is.

I know the controversy between the nominations of Chime and Shine has died down, but it’s taken me until now to read Shine. So, here are my final comments (maybe).

Someone I know said something to the effect that Chime is loved by the critics and not too many others. Unfortunately I agree.  It’s very literary and I was able to get through about 50 pages before I put it down.  It’s not that I hated it, it’s that so many other books were calling to me that I just lost interest.  That’s not to disparage Franny Billingsley…please don’t get me wrong.  Chime just wasn’t my book.

So, instead I thought I’d compare Shine by Lauren Myracle to It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters.  Why not compare two sides of the spectrum?

Shine takes place in the South. Patrick does not hide his sexual orientation and when he is found outside the Come ‘n Go convenience store, beaten up and with a gasoline nozzle in his mouth, the theory is he is a victim of a hate crime.  Cat, his one time best friend, decides she must find out who did this to Patrick and the book follows her on her quest. We meet Beef, Tommy, Dupree and Bailee-Ann, kids Cat’s grown up with and known forever.

As Cat searches for the perpetrator, the reader learns why she withdrew from all her friends.  We find all the inner secrets of the people around her, adults and teens.  Myracle paints a not so pretty picture of the South, of the backwoods towns, the poor economic conditions, the use of drugs as an escape mechanism, the intolerance of people because they are different.

Rather than being a book about homosexuality, Shine is really a book about self discovery, confronting your past, learning who you are.  The vehicle Myracle uses is a hate crime, although it could easily have been a robbery, a death in the family, a divorce or a myriad of other life events.  Lauren Myracle outshown herself (pun intended) in Shine. If you like reading well written books, books that make a point, books that hold your interest, Shine should fit the bill.  Apparently not for the National Book Award judges, but for you and me plain folk, it’ll do just fine.

In the Colorado town in which Azure, Luke and Radhika live, in It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It), sexual orientation is not an issue.  And, yeah, while Luke may get razzed by his brother, Owen’s, friends for being bisexual, and yeah, they may not like him for it, there is little to none of that outright hatred that permeates the southern town in which Patrick and Cat live in Shine.  And that’s the difference. It’s Our Prom emphasizes inclusiveness.

Azure is asked by her school principal to become a Prom Com member and work to make the prom more inclusive; of straights, gays, geeks, nerds, loners, cliques and non-cliques.  The fact that Azure and Luke both want to ask Radhika to the prom is just part of the romantic triangle.  The fact that Azure’s former girlfriend reappears and pulls at some forgotten heartstrings is what happens to every teenager.  The fact that Luke has a crush on both Connor and Radhika is no different than a million other teens whose hearts are pulled in many directions. 

The result is a fun read about a group of teens whose goal to make a prom to remember is thwarted by parents, teachers, idealism and naïveté. Some of the crushes are obvious to the reader while unknown to the recipient. Peters has a way of creating characters that you want as your friends and Azure, Luke and Radhika fall into this category.  These kids go through the same things that every teenager goes through:  uncertainty about the future, parental pressure, school work overload. This is the kind of world I’d like to live in.  Life is hard enough without castigating someone because of who they love.  Read It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It).

So, in conclusion, both Lauren Myracle and Julie Anne Peters have authored excellent books that use the GLBTQ theme as a backdrop for something more. That’s what I like about the books and the authors.  There’s something more.

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Many moons ago when I first forayed into YA literature I read Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters.  I thought it was a wonderful, emotional romance and I became a Julie Anne Peters fan.  To this day, Keeping You a Secret is my favorite Julie Anne Peters book.  Go read it, now!

But this blog post is not about that, it’s about Peter’s book Pretend You Love Me (previously issued as Far From Xanadu).  I remembered liking it but not loving it when I first read it…but as many of you know, my memory is pretty faulty.  It is a marvelous book.  Imagine a society where people treat you nicely, care about you, want to do things for you regardless of your sexual orientation, your looks, your wealth.  The residents of Coalton really like Mike (Mary-Elizabeth) despite that fact that she is big and muscular and lesbian.  They like Jamie, despite the fact that he is short and thin, a cheerleader and quite gay.  It’s so refreshing to read a book like this since so many books are about how hostile people are to gays.

The story:  Mike is in love with Xanadu, the gorgeous new girl in town, but she is straight and in love with Bailey.  Mike hopes beyond hope she’ll change her mind.  Jamie has struck up an internet romance with Shane and they want to meet.  But Shane lives 1,000 miles away.  We all know the dangers of online pickups.  While dealing with this, Mike also has to deal with the suicide of her father, her mother’s debilitating obesity, her brother’s uselessness and her financial inability to go to baseball camp over the summer–she’s the school’s star catcher.

Pretend You Love Me is a great self-discovery, self-acceptance story, written only as Julie Anne Peters can write.  (I’m ready to move to Coalton, if only I can find out where it is located.)  Peters stretches the boundaries of issue-driven novels with such titles as Luna, Between Mom and Jo, By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead, and Rage: A Love Story.  She should be on everyone’s must read list.

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