Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jewels Treasured by Her Family

Cover Image

Jewels Treasured by Her Family
Julia Johnson

Grade: A
Rating: PGish

Summary: (Barnes and Noble) highly recommends Jewels Treasured by Her Family. Filled with a unique reality, imagination & humor, it is a must for readers, young and old. -Dorothy Lafrinere, Editor & Creator of I was hooked after the first couple of pages. The author has a unique way of bringing the characters in her book alive, making it an enjoyable read. -A. W. Nutter, Author of Daddy’s Game and Shimmer A wonderful book filled with stories inside of stories. Fanciful, heart-warming and intriguing, I highly recommend it to readers of all ages. -Susan Beth Nemitz, Author of Yours Truly This book takes the reader into the life of the Flynn family from the eyes of the youngest, Beth. The family is so real you will feel that you have met them on the street or at the store. A very good read any age would enjoy. -Maryann Nooner, Avid Reader/Writer/Author/Book Reviewer I didn’t want to leave the loving atmosphere of the Flynn ranch, and as each page turned I was more captivated by this story. The reader feels deeply for the Flynns as they face each obstacle that defines their lives. I found myself rooting for them to conquer each of those obstacles and to see that the love of family is all you need to face anything in life. -BJ Myers, Author of Justice is Served A story that everyone should read, it seems so real you feel as if you were being swept off you feet, becoming one of the characters. It is more than a great read; it is one of the best. -Tabitha Robin, Author of The Burning Bush

My thoughts: I thought this book was written incredibly well. I was not what I expected to be reading at all but defiantly well worth it. The plot was amazingly unique and the writing flawless. I have never before read a book that flows through so easily. I am not saying this was the best book I have ever read, but it was written the best. That’s saying a lot with how many books I have read and loved. I am very happy that I was able to chat with Julia and that she was able to send me a copy.

Recommendation: This is a really great book for coming of age. I would hand a copy to my 12 year old sister because I think that it would be a great, important story for her to read.

I’m reading: Isabelle’s Boyfriend

Friday, May 29, 2009

Every Young Woman's Battle

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Every Young Woman’s Battle
Multiple Authors

Grade: C
Rating: PG

Summary: A Christian book about teen purity in relationships.

My thoughts: I have never been much of a non-fiction person. This book was extremely dull and I had to look at it from many perspectives. From one angle it was a good book. If you are a church girl, who is still a virgin then great! The other group of people who are or already have been sexually active would not be able to connect at all. It gave no ideas on how to change what has already happened and didn’t even come near addressing it. The ideas were strong and the writing great but other then that read it only before bed, when you want to fall asleep.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Going Too Far

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Title: Going too far
Author: Jennifer Echols

Grade: A
Rating: TV-14

Summary: Meg has decided that she will live her life in any way she see’s fit. She has the blue haired rebel act mastered, until the perfect guy comes along. He has to show her how to face your fear head on and tackle it. There is no longer a need to hide the pain of what’s really bothering her behind the bad girl image.

My thoughts: Sometimes I find it impossible to read in the car. A book must capture me in many ways to make me risk the motion sickness. Going too far did just that. I loved how Meg was such and honest and believable character. I also loved the concept of hiding from fear. John was also a well defined character. He was great at showing us all the emotions of the story. Needless to say I was sad when it ended. Sequel anyone? : )

Recommendation: The perfect novel for teens, especially those who struggle with fear.

Up Next: Breathing

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Contest Winners:

Here are the random winners of All the May contests. Please email me at princessashley9 AT

Anatomy of a Boyfriend goes to: Vera

The Elite: Michelle

In Too Deep: Paradox

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interview time

Today we have Lauren Strasnick, author of Nothing Like You, which everyone should go buy October 20, 2009! Check her out at

Teens receive so much pressure to be sexually active. Do you think the media is at fault in some ways?
Oh, hard question! And I’m no expert – but yes. Well, yes, and no. I think you’d have to be an extraordinarily strong individual to resist media influence. Teen or not, it’s nearly inescapable! And I’m not just speaking about sexual pressures – what we eat, what we wear, who we like – we’re all vulnerable. That said, do I think teens would still be feeling pressure to be sexually active without media influence? Yes. I think that sort of pressure comes at teens from a billion different angles: friends, significant others, etc. But do I think the media adds to those pressures? Absolutely. Television, movies – they all make sex seem much simpler than it actually is. And I think the media perpetuates the myth that everyone is doing it. When trust me, not everyone is.

So many teens plan this “perfect” first time. Is this a reality?
I think that depends on your expectations. There’s so much importance placed on the physical – I’m not sure many teens prepare properly for the emotional ramifications of sex. If you love the person you’re with, if you go into it expecting an intense emotional experience, I think your expectations might be met. But most people I know would describe their first time as awkward, scary, perplexing, and um, painful (well, okay, most girls).

In your writing what do you try to show readers when it comes to sex?
I try to be as honest as possible when writing sex scenes, sexual themes, etc.

Is there a point at which you think a novel would have too much sexual content to be considered YOUNG ADULT?
Hmm. Another great question! Honestly, I don’t know. I think what’s so fantastic about YA fiction is that there really seems to be no limits. I’m hesitant to say that, yes, if something is too explicit, it shouldn’t be marketed as YA. Personally I see no harm in reading about it. There’s nothing wrong with curiosity – seeking out information about sex, etc. And what’s better than being able to experience something in a book that you may not be ready to experience in life? It’s the safest way I know to curb curiosity.

What would you say to your teenage sister who tells you she is planning on having sex for the first time?
I’d ask: why? What her expectations were. I’d consider her particular situation. Whether she had a boyfriend or girlfriend she felt particularly close to. I’d give a lengthy lecture on safe sex! :) And I’d encourage her to wait if she felt at all pressured. There is absolutely no rush. Seriously, it’s not a race. You have your whole lives to have sex!

Why do you think the media focuses on virginity so much? In almost every sexual book I have read it involves girl’s virginity being lost.
Well, it’s a doorway we all pass through. And I think most teens are curious about sex, whether they’ve had it or not. As adults, we all remember the befores and afters so vividly. How big it felt before it actually happened – and then afterwards comes the realization that we’re all pretty much exactly the same as we were before. It’s a topic that never stops being compelling! Clearly. Teen authors can’t stop writing about it.

Any last thoughts?
Thank you, Ashley, for hosting me on your blog! And for asking such smart, thoughtful questions.

Thank YOU Lauren! As I said, be sure to get your hands on Laurens upcoming release as soon as it comes out :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekly Mail Call

The past two weeks have brought me many books. Here they are!

Web of Dreams (Casteel Series #5) by V. C. Andrews

Cover Image Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
Is there ever a deal breaker when it comes to true love?
Cover Image Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
Austin Music Fest
Yay, summer in Austin!
Good food, good times. Fun for everyone!
Okay, living with my sorority-brainwashed cousin, who willingly goes by "Party Penny," is not exactly what I had in mind.
All your favorite bands
But the cute musicians I've met totally make up for it . . . like Sebastian. Swoon.
All ages welcome
So why can't I stop thinking about Penny's friend All-American Russ and his Texas twang??
Saturday & Sunday, from noon to midnight
Don't wait up!
Cover Image Everything Is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis
Stuck at home caring for her severely depressed mother and abandoned by her father, Mazzy has only the day-to-day dramas of her neighborhood to keep her busy. But between flirting with the boy next door and worrying about the fact that she's flat-chested, Mazzy has to face the fact that her mom is emotionally paralyzed by a family tragedy. As readers delve into the story, they'll eventually discover what it was that tore Mazzy's family apart, and they'll see what it takes to put it back together.
If There Be Thorns (Dollanganger Series #3) by V. C. Andrews
post the rest later but must go...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Courage in Patience

There will be no cover because my computer has decided to piss me off.

Title: Courage in Patience
Author: Beth Fehlbaum

Grade: A
Rating: R--- extreme sexual violence at parts. Lots of swearing

Summary: Ashley Asher’s life can easily be described in one saying, “Effed up”. Her step dad gets off on treating poor Ashley like a piece of meat. It takes things getting super bad for Ashley to realize she cant fight anymore, that she shouldn’t have to. She must discover who she really is and that not every man is out there to get her. This lesson can only be learned through the pure love of her true father.

My thoughts: This was honestly the best book I have read in forever. The story portrayed honest emotions that at times made me feel that I was reading a non-fiction story. The characters were all unique, everyone could find themselves somewhere within the story. Never before have I found a novel that addresses broken families, sexual abuse, and racism so clearly. Beth dear, you have officially passed Judy Blume on my best authors list. That’s saying a lot!

Recommendation: Before you decide to read this make sure you are emotionally ready. The abuse in this novel is shown very strongly. I would wait until you are at least 14.

Up next: Going too Far

Thursday, May 21, 2009


CK Kelly Martin has come to visit us today :) She had some great answers to the tough questions.

What do you like to portray teen sexuality as in your books?
Personally, I like to reflect the varied set of experiences and feelings that teen sexuality truly is. Some teenagers think about sex a lot but don’t have any direct experience and don’t plan to for sometime. Some fool around (which may or may not include oral sex) but stop just short of having intercourse and still others hook up with people at parties or are in serial monogamous sexual relationship. There are guys who like other guys, girls who like girls and people who are attracted to both genders.

As well as what activities they’re engaging in there are also differences in the way various young people approach them—some are very careful about safer sex practices like using condoms and are interested in the experience being a mutually satisfying one whereas others are only concerned with what they want and how they’re feeling.

Another thing that I’m very aware of when I’m writing about teen sexuality is the influence of popular culture (everything from music videos to Internet pornography, TV and video games). Not that those things cease to be an influence later in life but hopefully when you’ve had more experience you learn to be less swayed by what other people are doing (or say they’re doing) and how they’re doing it and then concentrate on engaging in activities you enjoy in the time and way you want to.

I worry a lot about girls, especially, getting these exceptionally toxic messages from our culture—that they’re uptight if they’re not having sex but that they’re skanky if they are and that the sex they’re having should be more about performance (like in lots of pornography) than about enjoying themselves. With guys there are a different set of problems—the unhealthy messages they’re receiving are that they should be up for it at anytime otherwise they’re losers and that they should be dominant in their sexual relationships.

Do you think books should be more or less open regarding teen sex?
If we’re talking about contemporary YA I think they should be more realistic, which doesn’t necessarily mean more graphic details but that often there’s going to be uncertainty, awkwardness and even funny moments amid the sex. When I was growing up I really appreciated what Judy Blume did with Forever. I felt like it gave me a realistic idea of what sex with a trusted boyfriend/girlfriend could be like. More recently I thought Daria Snadowsky did a fantastic job with Anatomy of a Boyfriend, Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson with The Parallel Universe of Liars and Alex Sanchez with his Rainbow Boys series. Coe Booth is another writer that deals with teen sexuality in a truthful, open, non-judgmental way. Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy has important but disturbing sexual scenes between a twelve year old boy and the teacher that manipulates him into having a sexual relationship with her.

Not that every book needs to even have some kind of sex scene, of course! There’s room for books that don’t want to deal with sex at all but I do think it’s important that teenagers have books that accurately reflect their own sexual experiences, both positive and negative.

At what point do you draw the line between YA and Adult books regarding sex?
That’s a good question and it’s very hard to pinpoint. I feel like adult books can be gratuitous when it comes to sex whereas YA should be a bit more careful because the readers it’s aimed at can be more impressionable because of their age. I think with a YA book you don’t want to glorify sex or demonize it, just tell it how is. Also with YA I think it’s more important to emphasize safe sex.

Do you think there’s an age where kids/teens should start being able to read books involving sex?
With I Know It’s Over I noticed some reviewers recommended it for readers twelve and up and others said fourteen and up. One blog reviewer remarked that they wouldn't recommend the book to anyone under the age of seventeen, although the characters in the book who are faced with an unwanted pregnancy are only sixteen. I think ideally kids should begin reading books involving sex before they find themselves in a sexual situation but not so far beforehand that they’re not ready to think about it (I don’t even mean considering having sex but just generally having sexual thoughts). This is going to be a different age for different people. Generally I wouldn’t recommend readers younger than thirteen read my books but for some fourteen or fifteen might be a better age.

Do you feel it’s important to show “first times” in your writing?
I think our society tends to think of first times as being a big thing – more than we should. It’s not like there’s automatically this huge divide between someone who has had sex and someone who hasn’t. It doesn’t change who you are and I don’t think it should be more important that someone has a good first time than a good second, third etc. What is important, in my opinion, is that you only start having sex when you really want to and are ready for it on a lot of different levels (not just physically but that you realize you need to be responsible about it).

But because many people see first times as monumental I often reflect that in my books. In I Know It’s Over Nick and Sasha’s first time sucks, in part because Nick has unrealistic expectations, but the second time is pretty good. In my third book, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, the main character Mason has sex for the first time in chapter one and while it’s a positive experience everything goes downhill from there. The girl he sleeps with is a good friend of his and things get very complicated emotionally. I don’t want to say too much about One Lonely Degree and first times because I don’t want to ruin the book for people but as far as main character Finn goes, when she meets Jersy again (they were friends when they were much younger) it’s the first time she feels strongly about a member of the opposite sex who isn’t a rock star or unobtainable crush.

Should middle school kids read the same YA books that High School kids are? There is a big difference yet they are classified the same.
I guess my answer for this is similar to question 4. There are YA books that don’t have that much mature content and which are fine reading for middle school readers and others that young readers might not be ready for but I suppose unless you see an age recommendation for a certain novel on a bookseller or book review site you might not be aware of it to use as guideline. I think it’s hard to break the classification of books down any further as far as shelving goes, though, because kids mature at different rates and what someone is ready to read at twelve and a half someone else might not be ready for until fourteen and a half.

Any last thoughts?
Because we’ve been talking a lot about sex here, I want to mention sex ed site Scarleteen ( I can never say enough good things about it - so much information but it goes way beyond facts. It’s focused on making people “healthy, happy and whole in themselves and their sexuality: in body, heart, and mind.” Scarleteen founder Heather Corinna has also written a really good book on the subject called S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College (
And speaking of first times they have a Ready or Not? Sex Readiness Checklist on Scarleteen:
Thanks for giving me the chance to talk about all this, Ashley!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

wednesday wishlist

ALSO: Contest, one hour to enter! Go here:
Cover ImageOne Lonely Degree by C. K. Kelly Martin
Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend . . . can she?
Just got this in the mail :) Look for a review soon!
Cover Image Crash into Me by Albert Borris
Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living—or if there's no turning back.
Cover Image Just Like That by Marsha Qualey
Things change so suddenly. one day Hanna has a long-term boyfriend; the next, she realizes she doesn't have strong feelings for him and breaks up with him. one day Hanna trusts her two best friends completely; the next, all of that trust is toppled. And then Hanna finds herself the bearer of a major secret: she was the last person to see two teenagers before they died in an accident on the icy lake. she can't tell anyone, so when Hanna finds herself drawn to will, the elusive boy she's noticed around town, the kind of boy who'd increase any girl's pulse, she doesn't hold back. what she learns about him will astonish her. but what she learns about herself-her friendships, her family, her life-will affect her far more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Interview :)

Today we have Terra McVoy here to answer a few questions that Lex and I had on our minds!

Sexuality is at large in teen books. Why do you think this is?
Well, it’s pretty much when you are a teenager that you’re first discovering and experimenting with your own sexuality, so it makes sense that books for teens would include it. Plus, there are a lot fewer obstacles to talking openly about sex in novels for teens these days (or anywhere, really), so I think we see more of it.

What would you say to a teen who was thinking of becoming intimate with his or her partner?
I think I would want to make sure that my teenage friend had thought about everything involved (emotional as well as physical) before he or she got into anything serious. Not to scare them, but to, you know, make sure all the bases were covered. Also I’d let them know they could always talk to me, no matter what.

Some people are quick to blame the media when it comes to an increase in sexually active teens. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m certainly not an expert on this topic at all, but I do know there are a lot of opinions out there. One thing I’m not sure of is whether teens are being more sexually active now, or if we are just more aware of it because there’s more about it out there in our culture. Look at Forever, by Judy Blume; Endless Love by Scott Spencer, or even the movie “Grease,” (just to pick one)—teen sex has been out there for awhile, right?

Girls always hope their first time will be amazing. This is fairly unrealistic between two teens in my opinion. Do you agree?
I think there is always the potential for your first encounter with anyone (whether it is your very first time or not) to be either fantastic or a disappointment. That’s what makes the whole thing so thrilling and special—and a little scary, too!

What ideas do you think Pure gives when it comes to sexuality?
It wasn’t my intention for Pure to be a book about sex, really. It’s a book about friendship, and forgiveness, and about choosing your own morality and making decisions for yourself. I think –well, I hope—that Pure does bring to light the unavoidable truth that there are multiple factors to consider when it comes to making decisions (including and perhaps especially your sexual ones), and that it’s important to weigh as much as you can before going through with anything.

So many novels give sex the free, easy and fun vibe. Is it important for teens to see that it’s not always that way?
Not to sound like a broken record, but I think it is always important for everyone to know the potential plusses and minuses of any choice they might make, whether it’s about sex, or a job, or who to vote for, or where to go on vacation. It’s why reading, education, and critical thinking are so valuable to me—seeing something only from one side, from one angle, isn’t really seeing it very well.

I’ve asked so many general questions but have yet to ask what your opinion of teen sex is. So I’m asking…
What I think is that sex can be really complicated, both emotionally and physically, no matter how old you are. It’s easy to know you want it. What’s harder is figuring out why you want it, and to make sure you’re thoroughly informed about (and cool with) everything that could happen around it. But personally I can’t say, “I’m totally for teen sex,” or, “I’m totally against teen sex.” I just know that having sex with someone is an intimate, individual responsibility—at every age.

Any last thoughts?
Thanks so much for these really thought-provoking, interesting questions! I hope I’ve been helpful, and hope that you both enjoy the book!

Thanks so much Terra for coming. If you guys have yet to get your hands on a copy of Pure be sure to do so. We know we will :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Must Monday 22

Here's what I'm waiting for this week :)
Only one this week sorry

Cover ImageSecond Skin by Jessica Wollman
Beauty is only skin deep. Popularity goes much deeper. . . .

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Daria Snadowsky agreed to anwer the tough questions we all have. Lexi and I interviewed her... This is what she has to say.

With a teen sex as a large aspect in the media can you see why people are quick to blame the media?
The media is certainly a convenient scapegoat, and the constant bombardment of suggestive images in the media probably does make teen sex more permissive. However, the media also reflects society as it is and what it wants to see, so heaping all responsibility on the media may be unfair.

Do you think it’s important for teens to know their options regardless of wither their parents want them to?
Generally, I think too much information is less dangerous than not enough information. So yes, even if parents are urging their children to choose abstinence, I don’t believe that also educating them about protection would be counterproductive.

What influence do you want to give through your writing when it comes to teen sexuality?
With Anatomy of a Boyfriend, I don’t want to influence readers at all about teen sexuality. I just want to show them what the experience is like, for better or for worse. In the end, my book makes no judgment about whether teen sex is right or wrong. That’s for the individual readers to decide for themselves, based on the story and their own beliefs.

Do you think teen sex is a negative thing in all circumstances?
I’d prefer not to think of teen sex as inherently positive or negative. Kids aren’t automatically “good” for abstaining, and kids are certainly not automatically “bad” for acting on their sexual curiosity or romantic feelings. However, teen sex is often a very “bad idea” because of the physical and emotional risks involved.

Do you think teens don’t see the risk in foreplay like they do pure “sex”?
That may be true. Back when I took Health in the early nineties, the emphasis of sex education was how intercourse could transmit HIV, Herpes and HPV. We never learned how all those diseases can still be transmitted through other sexual means as well. Furthermore, we learned about only the physical risks of sex, never the emotional, which are just as important and can be just as permanent.

What would you tell your 15 year old sister who said she might have sex with her boyfriend?
Ideally, I wouldn’t say anything at first. I’d ask why she wanted to go all the way, and I’d listen closely as she explained. At that point, I’d reassure her that her reasons are understandable and normal and even well-meaning, but then I’d present counterpoints stressing all the less-than-romantic consequences that may and often do happen to sexually active teens, especially if the relationship ends in heartbreak. Furthermore, I’d urge her to think this out carefully because fifteen is very young to make such a big decision. Finally, if she does go through with it, I’d want her to know that she doesn’t have to keep going through with it. Although there may seem to be an unbridgeable divide between “virgin” and “non-virgin,” losing your virginity does not mean that you can’t go back to choosing abstinence.

Any last thoughts?
Kids today are lucky that so much helpful information about teen sexuality is available on the internet, whereas in my day we’d have to sneak around outdated library books and rely on (mis)information from our friends. If teens are hungry for information about their sexuality, they should take advantage of websites such as

Thanks for all the great words of wisdom! Daria is giving one lucky person a copy of anatomy of a boyfriend. Want it? Here's what you have to do:

+1 Comment here. Leave an email
+1 follow
+2 already follow
+2 2 sentences about ahat you would tell a sibling who wants to become sexually active?
+1 If you tell me if you think Sex ed should be required
More points avaliable if you enter at Lexi's blog:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Interview time :)

The lovely Sara Zarr agreed to be interviewed by Lexi and I for this special month. Here are her thoughts.

What is the most important thing teens can learn regarding sexuality from novels?
Honestly, I don't think of novels as teaching tools, but one of the best things fiction can do for anyone is let them know they aren't alone. And reading about a character's feelings and experiences, if they're similar to yours, can help you identify and articulate complex emotions and then maybe provide a springboard for talking about those things with friends, parents, whoever.

Should sex education be mandatory?
In an ideal world, parents would be willing and able and equipped to talk to their teens about sex---the mechanics, the biology, and the emotional and spiritual stuff, too. But, we don't live in an ideal world, and there has to be a way to get at least the basic information to everyone. School is the easiest forum for making that happen efficiently. I do understand parents' reluctance to see their kids grow up, and concern over how sex ed curriculum is designed and communicated, but fear of information never leads anywhere good. All you have to do is look at the AIDS epidemic in Africa to see what happens when social and cultural taboos perpetuate misinformation (or no information).

How could someone work to remove the label of “slut”? Does your novel show this?
I have no idea! Whenever I write a book, I'm just trying to tell that one story, and I never know if/how that's going to apply or resonate to any other specific person. The thing about labels is that they almost always start from the outside. Someone outside of yourself labels you as slut, brain, dork, ugly, pretty, bitch, good girl, whatever. Just as we really can't control the labels other people give us, we can't control undoing that label, either. The hard part is when we internalize the labels, and believe them, and then start acting in self-destructive ways because of them. Like, "Everyone already thinks I'm a slut and no matter what I do they won't change their minds, so I might as well sleep least it gives me an identity."

I think the key is really KNOWING your own identity, regardless of what other people say, and also having compassion for yourself when you make mistakes. That's hard. It's basically a lifelong project. I think the hope for Deanna in Story of a Girl is that even though she only has a couple of friends, she's chosen them wisely. She doesn't hang around people who put her down or reinforce a negative identity, and those relationships help her get through a hard time.

At what point is a book to smutty to be considered teen?
That's a question that readers, teachers, librarians, parents, publishers, and marketers have been trying to answer for years, and I certainly don't have any new insights. For me, whether it's a teen book or an adult book or a movie or whatever, it's all about context. Is the sex there just to turn people on and get notoriety? Or does it have an important purpose in the story? For me, whatever the smut factor is, or the language, or anything, it has to earn its right to be there by mattering for the story and characters.

Any last thoughts?
These are merely the opinions of a lowly writer who spends most of her time in a fantasy world, so take it all with a grain of salt!

Thanks for these wonderful answers Sara! Now I have a question for my readers... Where do you think the line should be drawn for books that are targeted at teens?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Susane Colasanti is visiting us today to discuss teen sexuality.

Her books include:
When it happens
Take me There
Waiting for You

Ashley: Your new book to soon be released is Waiting for You. Who do you think will be the most intrigued by this novel? Younger teens? Older?
S.C: I’m stoked that Waiting for You will be released on May 14! The characters in this book are sophomores, so they’re a bit younger than my usual characters. I love writing about older teens, but I wanted to tell the story of slightly younger kids so that younger readers could relate to this book in a more meaningful way. I also have adult readers who are looking forward to reading this book. That’s the cool thing about YA novels – they appeal to a wide audience.

Ashley: What would you say the main theme of Waiting for You is?
SC: You can usually find themes about creating your ideal life or the importance of taking chances in my books. These concepts definitely apply to Waiting for You. One of the book’s themes explores how we can enhance our lives by living in the moment, what my main character calls “the Now.” When we live in the Now, we relate to the world in a totally refreshing way. I hope my readers will be inspired to try it.

Ashley: Does it compare in any aspects to your previous novels?
SC: All of my books have similarities. At the heart of each one is a story about soul mates. I love writing about relationships, both the good and bad times. This story looks at the waiting we’ve all felt for our lives to begin and how hard it is to wait for true love to find us. Longing, wishing, and hoping are always present on some level in my books. Oh, and there’s an adorable boy in this book, too. I always like to write about adorable boys.

Ashley: Teen relationships and sexuality are all over the media. Do you have any thoughts on this subject?
SC: Kids are exposed to way more than they should be. The prevalence of sexually explicit images is increasing at an alarming rate. It seems like teens don’t have the opportunity to be teens anymore. I feel like so many teens are rushing into heavy situations before they’re ready. A lot of kids are doing more than they’re comfortable with, whether it’s dressing provocatively or becoming physically intimate, because it seems like everyone else is doing those things (they’re not). Moving too quickly now can cause immense problems later.
I want kids to know that they’re not alone. Everyone feels pressured or rushed at some point, and the choice to resist negative influences is yours. You are in charge of your body and your mind - no one else. So think about the person you want to be, and then make choices that will help you become that person. Disrespecting yourself can only lead to regret. If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will.

Ashley: One last question, what would you tell a teen who is getting "really" serious with her boyfriend?
SC: The most important thing is to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. If you’re having sex, you must have safer sex. Sex is never 100% safe, since there is always the risk of pregnancy or contracting an STI (sexually transmitted infection), but there are ways you can make it safer. Make sure that you are using at least one form of birth control and that you are using it correctly.
On an emotional level, I would strongly advise teens to only get physically serious with someone they know and love. It takes time to connect with another person in a real way. When I hear about teens sleeping with their boyfriend or girlfriend after being together for only a few months, it makes me sad. No one should do anything they’re not ready for. No one should be forced into an uncomfortable situation. The whole, “If you really loved me, then you’d do this” manipulation is skeezy. If someone truly loves you, that love will be there no matter how far you go. For serious.

Ashley: Thanks so much for coming :)
SC: Thank you, Ashley! Please let readers know that I love connecting with them. Here’s where they can find me:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Here's whats on my wishlist this week :)

Cover Image Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti
At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So when the handsome and popular Derek asks her out, Marisa thinks her long wait for happiness is over. But several bumps in the road—including her parents' unexpected separation, a fight with her best friend, and a shocking disappointment in her relationship with Derek—test Marisa's ability to maintain her new outlook. Only the anonymous DJ, whose underground podcasts have the school's ear, seems to understand what Marisa is going through. But she has no idea who he is—or does she?
Cover Image Pure by Terra Elan McVoy
Tabitha and her four best friends all wear Purity Rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made as tweens. Now the girls are fifteen, and their rings have come to symbolize not only their purity, but also the friendships and identities they've built based on their shared faith. Simmering tensions rise to the surface and the group is split apart when one of Tab's friends admits that she and her long-term boyfriend have broken the pledge. In the midst of the confrontations, betrayals, confessions, and revenge that follow, each girl is forced to reexamine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.
Cover Image Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz
Jane Fortune's fortunes have taken a downturn. Thanks to the profligate habits of her father and older sister, the family's money has evaporated and Jane has to move out of the only home she's ever known: a stately brick town house on Boston's prestigious Beacon Hill. Thirty-eight and terminally single, Jane has never pursued idle pleasures like her sibling and father. Instead, she has devoted her time to running the Fortune Family Foundation, a revered philanthropic institution that has helped spark the careers of many a budding writer, including Max Wellman, Jane's first—and only—love.
Cover Image Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bechard
It's Sam Pettigrew's last year of high school. And he's spending it figuring out how, at age seventeen, he is supposed to care for his baby son, Max.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teens having babies?!

Teen Pregnancy is not a subject to take lightly. Do I think teens should have babies? NO. Do I think teens should use abortion as birth control? NO. Do I think teens should have sex? That is up to the individual. Do I applaud teen moms? YES.

When a teen finds out they are pregnant there are choices to be made. Keep it, abort it or put it up for adoption. The best teen pregnancy books I have read so far are Dancing Naked, Annies Baby, Hanging on to Max and Baby Help. They all have different aspects that are great in them. You can experience pain, loss of childhood and regrets. Baby Help also adds abuse in the mix.

Hanging on to Max is about a father well the rest are about moms. In the end every book has made a choice. I wont give them away but they are all fitting.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Must Monday

Here is what I'm patiently waiting for this week :)

~Girl Stays in the Picture by Melissa de la Cruz~

If you can't be a mega teen superstar sensation then maybe you'll be lucky enough to join her entourage.

Devon — one name only, please — is the latest and jail-bait-est pop star to hit number one on the Billboard chart, and she's making her big-screen debut in Juicy. But after her stint in rehab, the studio isn't so sure she's their girl anymore. If they cut any more of her lines, she'll be a silent film actress! Can Devon regain her star status? She needs to watch her back and make sure that flash doesn't catch her causing a scene, and we don't mean the kind you can yell "Cut!" after.

Livia has lost the weight and gained the attitude in the Hollywood party scene. Her dad's an Oscar-winning producer, and with a hot Beverly Hills boyfriend on her arm as well as her photos all over the pages of, Livia looks like she has a perfect life. But looks can be perfectly deceiving....

And there's fresh-faced Casey, who left a job bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly to play personal assistant to her best friend...and Devon's rival. She's got the biggest crush on the biggest star of the film — a hot Brit known for loving and leaving. Will Casey stay true to herself while trying to find a place in his universe?

Stars. They're just like us. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Stay tuned, people.

Cover Image Unclaimed Hearts by Kim Wilkins
The rules for a young English woman in 1799 are simple: Do what you're told; stay out of the way; and don't, under any circumstances, ask questions.

But Constance Blackchurch is insatiable, headstrong, and complex; and the quest to find her missing mother is too much to resist... is Alexandre Sans-Nom, the pearl diver who steals her heart, uproots all of her social expectations, and can either ruin or save the family she loves.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Interview With Tina Ferraro

Tina is a young adult author. When I asked her about her books for teen sexuality month she told me there was lots of kissing but no sex. I think it's important to see that Relationships can be clean and fun.

Cover Image Cover Image Details Tina's clean YA books.
Ashley: As a teen I think it's important to see that relationships can be clean. Your books show this. Was that important to you?
Tina: Many teens put friendships, family, grades and goals before serious romantic relationships, and I not only feel strongly that this is a good way to live, but as an author, it struck me that these kids were under-represented. I set out to be a voice for this demographic, and I believe I've met that goal.

Ashley: So many teens are having sex so early these days. There is a 6th grader preggers at my sisters school. Do you have an oppinion of this matter?
Tina: I can't comment on any one person's actions or situation, but I don't endorse sexual activity before adulthood.

Ashley: Who is the best role model in your books?
Tina: I'd like to think that all three of my main characters (Nicolette in Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, Kate in How to Hook a Hottie, and Parker in The ABC's of Kissing Boys) are good role models, for they address the challenges before them, and try (with some margin of error and emotional growth) to make the best decisions.

Ashley: Any advice you would give a teen when her boyfriend wants to get serious?
Tina: More important than what he wants is what you want. Examine your interests, map out an idea for your future (college, career), and make that your priority.

Ashley: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me!
Tina: Thank YOU.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


So you wanna win The Elite or In too Deep? Here's your chance!

You have 4 chances to win!
+1 For commenting here. Leave an email please.
+1 If you follow me (yes you can start now)

Next head over to This is Lexi's blog.
+1 Comment on her contest post, leave an email
+1 Follow her.

That simple guys :)

Good luck

Friday, May 8, 2009

From a mom...

For this interview I asked my mom some questions that came to me. It's important to know what our mom's have to say.

You have a 12 year old daughter who loves the books like The Clique. The A-list is like that, except the girls are older and behave worse. Do you have a problem with her reading those?
It really depends on the child.

Do you keep tabs on what your 12 year old reads?
Kind of.

You wouldn’t Allow Ashley to read Forever until 8th grade. Why was this choice made? Will it be the same with the younger one?
Forever was a big deal when I was that age. In today’s culture it really is probably not as shocking as it was for me and my peers. I would probably allow my younger daughter to read it sooner. I guess I’m mellowing with age…

Do you think books are to blame for an increase in the sexuality among teens?
No. I do feel though that books often show sex in a fairytale sort of manner.

Should Middle School libraries be allowed to have copies of The A-list, Gossip Girl, and Forever?
As I haven’t read these books it is hard to say. It would be great though to have books that keep young girls attention without sex having to be such a big part of them.

Do you think teens should be allowed to take sex ed with out parental consent?
Um, probably. I think parents should be notified and allowed to review the curriculum that will be taught. Knowledge is what allows us all to make wise choices.

In Oregon you can get birth control with out parental consent at a young age. Is this good or bad in your opinion?
It is so hard to make things black and white. I just hope that my own daughters will always be able to come to me.

Are you ever shocked to hear of things going on in your daughter’s middle school that are sexual?
Not necessarily shocked, but often saddened.

At what point is the sexual content to high for a book to be Young Adult?
I think the insinuation is enough without needing to be graphic.

If Ashley’s friend was considering becoming sexually active but couldn’t talk to their mom would you help them out?
I would be willing to help them with general facts.

Any Last thoughts?
I think often the fascination with sex is because it is seen as something forbidden. Anyone making the choice to be sexually active needs to be mature enough to understand what all the consequences of this may be.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Judy Blume is a fantastic writer. Forever is one of my favorites.

So many novels make sex sound so fantastic. The first time is perfect, la-de-da. In reality it can be confusing, painful and messy. Forever captures that through out. I also like how she adds some humor to its seriousness. Ralph anyone? :)

I read Forever in 8th grade. Would I reccommend it then? Probably not. I was a very mature 8th grader. Not one of those sit on the bed laughing like a lunatic types. I knew more than I should and that sometimes got me into sticky situations. Forever was still an eye opener for me. if you are thinking of having sex you should definatly read it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wedesday Wishlist

Here are the books on my wishlist this week :)

~Fallen Hearts by V.C. Andrews~
As Logan's bride, she would savor now the love she had sought for so long. And free from her father's clutches, she would live again in her backwoods town, a respected teacher and cherished wife. But after a wedding trip to Boston's Farthinggale Manor and a lavish, elegant party, Heaven and Logan are persuaded to stay...lured by Tony Tatterton's guile to live amidst the Tatterton wealth and privilege. Then the ghosts of Heaven's past rise up once more, writhing around her fragile happiness...threatening her precious love with scandal and jealousy, sinister passions and dangerous dreams!

~Web of dreams by V.C. Andrews~
With nowhere to go, no one to help her, Leigh fled into the arms of Luke Casteel! Leigh Van Voreen had to escape from Boston's Farthinggale Manor. The foul secret she harbored within her seemed to darken her life forever. Jillian, her mother, would not believe her...and Tony Tatterton, her stepfather, had betrayed her most cruelly.

Stunned by tragedy, desperate and alone, Heaven's daughter clung to the frailest of dreams!

Cover Image Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell
Riley Rose, atheist and bad girl, has been tricked into attending Spirit Ranch, a Christian camp. There she meets Dylan Kier, alumni camper and recent paraplegic, who arrives with a chip on his shoulder and a determination to perfect all of his bad habits. United in their personal suffering and in their irritation at their fellow campers, they turn the camp inside out as they question the meaning of belief systems, test their faith in each other, and ultimately settle a debate of the heart.
Cover Image Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.
After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gossip Girl and the A list

Have you noticed how sex is such a large aspect in Gossip Girl and The A-List? Whats so great about it?

The focus of virginity is so large it takes away from the rest of the book. I love both of these series but I still think it's rediculous. My opinion of a character will not change based on thier status of virginity.

I know that many people have sex in hgh school but shouldn't there be a different focus? Books like Forever that are all about sex should be left to do into the gritty details about sex. Series about other things could mention it everyonce in a while but must we continually talk about it?

Atleast Gossip Girl preaches safe sex. In I like it like that Nate buys condoms. The A-list has pregnancy scares.

Monday, May 4, 2009

weekly mail call

Late I know. But I'm headed to Cali Friday so I needed to post this :)

I had a GREAT week :)

Cover Image The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty
A young girl tries to make sense of an unruly world spinning around her. Growing up with a single mother who is chronically out of work and dating a married man, 10-year old Evelyn Bucknow learns early how to fend for herself.
~Dark Angel by V.C. Andrews~
At last, Heaven would find the happiness she longed from the scorn and contempt of her past!
Cover Image What Kind of Love? by Sheila Cole
In a flash, Valerie's world comes tumbling down. Talented pretty and popular. She was enjoying life and planing her future. She and Peter, the love of her life, were sharing their dreams. Now she and Peter share a problem...
DetailsThe Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus
Based on the real-life experiences, the inside story on the real lives of the rich and privileged from the women who know all the secrets - the nannies.
~Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat ~
As a side note I am looking for some of this series and would be willing to do trades.
~Normal Girl~
Cover Image Zeta or Omega? by Kate Harmon
High school is already a distant memory for incoming Lattimer University freshmen Jenna, Roni, and Lora- Leigh. Jenna can't wait to meet cute college boys, Roni can't wait to get away from home, and Lora- Leigh . . . well, Lora-Leigh couldn't care less. She's going to LU and participating in sorority recruitment only to appease her mom. Sorority girls are pretty, rich, and snotty, and Lora-Leigh doesn't want to be one of those girls. So she's shocked to find herself actually connecting with the sisters of Zeta Zeta Tau. And her new friend Jenna can relate. She came to recruitment only because her roommate begged her to, but now she can't decide which sorority to join; she likes them all! Roni, on the other hand, knows which sorority she should join, but she came to LU to reinvent herself. As recruitment progresses and the girls prepare to make big decisions, they'll need to heed the best advice there is: follow your heart. Now where will it lead?
Cover Image Ripped at the Seams by Nancy Krulik
Sami Granger is fresh off the bus from the Midwest when some crazy person in the bus terminal warns her that life in New York City won't be what she always dreamed of. But Sami's determined to make it in an industry that is notoriously hard to break in to. Nothing she ever learned in her small town can prepare her for her first job working for a hot-shot designer: He steals her designs!
Cover Image Kim by Beatrice Sparks
I am so scared.I feel like I'm silently screaming for help and no one pays any attention of tries to hear me.I can't control anything anymore. It's all out to get me!
Cover Image It's All About Us by Shelley Adina
Tall, blonde Lissa Mansfield is used to being one of the "in" crowd--but being accepted by the popular girls at posh SpencerAcademy boarding school in San Francisco is turning out to be harder than she thought. And then there's her New-York-loudmouth roommate, Gillian Chang, who's not just happy to be a Christian herself--she's determined to out Lissa, too! If Lissa can just keep her faith under wraps long enough to hook Callum McCloud, the hottest guy in school, she'll be golden.

Must Monday :)

Here are the books I'm attempting to be patient about...
Cover Image Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti buy it this May
At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So when the handsome and popular Derek asks her out, Marisa thinks her long wait for happiness is over. But several bumps in the road—including her parents' unexpected separation, a fight with her best friend, and a shocking disappointment in her relationship with Derek—test Marisa's ability to maintain her new outlook. Only the anonymous DJ, whose underground podcasts have the school's ear, seems to understand what Marisa is going through. But she has no idea who he is—or does she?
Cover ImageTotally Fabulous by Michelle Radford Buy it this June

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Teen sex Month

Wow two themed months in a row. What a shocker. I have noticed lately how many book for teens involve Sex as a main aspect. I'm not going to put a definition of sex on her because if your parents havn't had THE TALK with you yet you probably shouldn't be reading these books anyways. I have also seen how much teen pregnancy is going on so we will talk about that. Here are some things to expect...
~Gossip Girl
~The A-List
~Annie's Baby
~A breif focus on Rape