Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The National Book Award controversy

Everyone in the book world is going to be talking about this, so I am jumping right up on the bandwagon.

The National Book Award chooses 5 finalists every year to compete in the category for Young People's Literature.  Due to a snafu, this year there were 6 finalists.  My Name is Not Easy, Inside Out and Back Again, Okay for Now, Flesh and Blood so Cheap, Chime, and Shine were the 6 finalists.  Apparently Shine was never supposed to be on that list.  So, instead of allowing all 6 to compete (which was the original plan), Lauren Myracle (the author of Shine) had to withdraw her book (before they withdrew it for her) from consideration.

Now, mistakes happen, people read off the wrong name, hell there is still a rumor that Marisa Tomei was not supposed to get the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress because the wrong name was called blah blah blah.  That said, there is a way to handle the mistakes, and that would be with class.  I get that there is some tradition and that the sanctity of the award needed to be kept intact, or whatever.  But, seriously, did they need to do this?  How does this make the award better?  They embarrassed and hurt an author just to keep their award intact?  I don't see how this makes the award better, or is in the spirit of the award at all.

I have my issues with book awards already, *cough*The Printz*cough*, that I think are given out more for librarians and other people on book committees to feel all important and award books that are great for adults to read, but aren't so much great for teens to read.  But, this goes beyond my normal problems with book awards and goes more to the core of a new issue.  Awards are meant to lift people up, to give special notice to someone who has gone above and beyond.  Yes, people who don't win an award often feel bad, but they aren't being specifically singled out to feel bad.  This situation singled Myracle out and told her she was inferior.  That goes against the very reason to give an award.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Now that I've finished school I can enjoy some leisure reading time again!  With that time I was finally able to finish reading the book that everyone had been talking about months ago:  Matched by Ally Condie.

This book is set in a dystopic 1984-esque future where the population does not get to decide anything.  They don't get to decide what they eat, what they wear, who they marry, or what profession they will have.  Cassia has the unthinkable happen, she gets matched up with her best friend Xander.  But, when she puts his microchip in to view his information another face pops up on the screen.  The different face changes everything for Cassia, and now she must decide what to do when the infallible Society makes a mistake.

Once I had the time I raced through this book.  Cassia did get on my nerves a little bit with her selfishness near the end, but then none of us are saints.  This book is the first of a planned trilogy, so it isn't tied up at the end and readers are left wanting to know what happens.  I did start to wonder why people would want to live the way that they do in this society.

I'm looking forward to the second book in this trilogy and can't wait to get my hands on more books and just READ!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Warning:  This is going to be one of those sentimental type posts.  If sentiment is not what you are looking for, feel free to scroll down some and enjoy the snark in my earlier posts.

Obviously, I suck at blogging regularly and I seriously need to get on it.

That said, today is a momentous day for me.  Or well yesterday was, but I was too busy enjoying it to blog about it, so I am blogging about it today.  Yesterday was a day I'd been shooting for for over 3 years.  I finished college, I lost 150 lbs, and I finally have a clean house.  While one of those doesn't seem to fit with the others they are all tots important goals for me.

3 years ago I was mega heavy, married to a douchecanoe hoarder, and without a college degree.  I'm a smart person, but college just never worked for me.  Between being bored, and having some serious social anxiety issues, I just couldn't deal with it and made a few failed attempts that panned out to a whole lot of nothing.  I finally got my shit together though and went back to an online program and worked hard.  Along the way I did learn a lot of stuff, but I mostly learned that I don't have to be perfect.  Getting a 4.0 was not worth my sanity, and A or a B is just fine.

A few weeks ago I ran my first 5k.  I've walked 5ks before, and technically I probably more jogged this one than ran it, but it was more than walking and that's what counts.  3 years ago I wouldn't have been able to walk a 5k, let alone run one.  Hell, 15 years ago I'd barely have been able to run a 5k.  I've never been able to run long distances.  I've always been short, and heavy, and only able to sprint.  Once I lost the weight I decided to do something challenging and started running and now I love it.  I may never be able to do a marathon, but I can do something I couldn't ever do.

The final thing I accomplished is my house.  Now mind you I did not do this alone.  I've had help along the way, most recently I've had the help of lots of energy drinks pumped into my amazing boyfriend which make him uncomfortably energetic and make him clean a lot.  But seriously, I lived with a hoarder for years, and my house was a mess, and I couldn't have friends over.  It sucked.  Now, my house is nowhere near perfect, but it's cleaned up, it has a pink wall in the living room, is soon to have some awesome graffiti on the walls (thanks to my awesome BFF!) and I can have people over!  It sound lame, but it is super awesome.

Today is the start of a new part of my life where I get to make new goals and work towards them.  One of the is going to be getting my Master of Library Science (MLS) degree.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

YA topics I'm sick of

There are always cycles of topics that are popular in YA books.  Back when I was a teen it was all vampires, and Fear Street, and what not.  As a Teen Librarian it is my job to stay on top of what is popular in YA lit.  Well, you know what?  Sometimes I get sick of what's "popular".  So, I've decided to blog about some of the YA topics that I wish would just die already...or in some cases re-die.

1.  Paranormal Romance.  AKA "ZOMG!  My boyfriend is a vampire/werewolf/angel/gnome...."  Oh dear lord where do I even start with this one?  Yeah, Twilight was cool.  And I like Shiver, a lot.  But seriously, I'm about supernatural boyfriended out.  The only Supernatural boyfriend I'd like to see for a little while is Dean, you know the character from the show Supernatural.  Just find a boy who doesn't sparkle and date him for awhile.  Damn.

2.  Rich Bitch crap.  There, I said it.  I am tired of the rich girl crap that's been around.  I am sick of Girls who Gossip, of the daughters of affluence, of all the people with too much money, too much attitude, and too many problems.  Luckily this genre has seen a decline lately, but honestly, I am still sick to fricking death of it.

3.  Novels in verse.  Now don't get me wrong, I love a good novel in verse.  But, lately it seems like it is just another way to make a "quirky" book.  Also, my teens really have no desire to read an novel in verse not by an author named Hopkins.  Now Ms. Hopkins, you keep writing your novels in verse!  Also, Sonya Sones, please, more novels in verse...I love them!  Everyone else, it's called a paragraph, get to know one another, be friends, learn to work together.

4.  Crappy series that are just trying to cash in on more titles from one another or idea.  Have you ever read a book and thought "wow, I wish there were more to this story!"  Well guess what?  The book industry knows you want more, and they are willing to give it to you, even if there is no more story to tell.  Or, they are so excited to give you more of that story that they are going to horse whip it out of the author at such a breakneck speed that the writing isn't even as good as an article in TV Guide.

5.  Stories set during WWII.  I love this time period in history, I really do.  It's sad, and was horrible, but it is one of my favorite periods in history to read about.  That said, can't we pick any other time period to write about?  We've had how many thousands of years of history, and we keep going back to the same 10 year span of time?

What trends are you sick of?

Also, coming soon, topics that I wish we'd see more of in YA lit.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Literary Crushes

We all have them...characters in books that we are completely in lurve with.  So, in the tradition of many book blogger before me, I've decided to include a list of literary characters that I've swooned over.

1.  Gilbert Blythe (The Anne of Green Gables series):
Ok, yeah, so EVERY librarian ever is probably going to list him on their crush list.  But seriously, he's cute, a "bad boy" (at least in the Victorian sense of the word), smart, and utterly devoted to Anne.  What isn't there to love about Gilbert?

2.  Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo):
The main character of my favorite book ever!  He's a good guy, who gets set up, wrongfully imprisoned, breaks out, and sets forth to seek revenge on those that had him locked away.  Along the way he learns about forgiveness and true love.  I fell in love with Edmond when I was 12 years old, and never got over it.  I even named one of my favorite stuffed animals after him.

3.  Wallace Wells (The Scott Pilgrim Series):
Wallace Wells is cooler than you are, and he knows it.  He's also there to tell you that you are right, the world might just suck....or does it?  Whether he is gay stalking his hetero crush, hating on Envy, or just being cool in general, Wallace is awesome.  Ramona can have Scott, I'd choose Wallace any day.

4.  Gale (The Hunger Games):
Everyone is always Team Peeta, and yeah Gale so gets the short end of the stick in both casting and in the books, but seriously he's the guy who got my vote.  Gale was awesome, and actually a boy, and not all girly like Peeta (who was nice, but in a BFF kind of way not in a want to date kind of way).  Since I couldn't find a decent picture of Gale online, and since I refuse to use the actor whom they cast, I choose an actor who I think looks like Gale should look like.

5.  Fred Weasley (Harry Potter Series):
What girl doesn't want a guy who can make her laugh?  And Fred is the funniest, ok well him and George, but I dunno I was always partial to Fred.  Plus, he's business smart, what with him and George starting their own business.  And again, with that "bad boy" streak, without being really bad.  Added bonus, he's the only person on my list that doesn't have dark hair!

What about you guys?  Which literary characters have you crushed on?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott has become well known for her strong writing.  Her books Living Dead Girl, Stealing Heaven, and Love You, Hate You Miss You have all been included on YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults lists.

Between Here and Forever includes characters from Scott's first book: Bloom.  These characters are secondary characters though, and you do not need to have read Bloom to read Between Here and Forever.  This book focuses on Abby, who has lived in her sister Tess's shadow.  Tess now lies in a coma, and Abby is hoping for Tess to wake up so that Abby can escape from her, and live her own life.  Abby hatches a plan to get Eli, a beautiful young man who works at the hospital, to wake her sister up by making Tess fall in love with his voice.  As Abby and Eli spend time with Tess though, Abby starts to fall for Eli herself.

One of the main things with Abby is that she feels as though she is not good enough, that does not deserve to be happy and that no one can see her because Tess always outshown her.  I've read some reviews that complained about Abby's lack of self esteem and whining, and I can see where they are coming from.  But, for any girl who has been constantly over looked, Abby's personality rings true.  Even I, at 31, still feel at times the way Abby feels.  Because of this, I was really able to relate to Abby.  Elizabeth Scott has a way of writing characters that I can relate to, or putting them in situations I really understand.  She did so in Bloom and Perfect You and now Between Here and Forever is no exception.  I think girls will be able to relate to Abby, and girls with low self esteem might start to realize that they too deserve to let themselves be happy.

Some of the secondary plots don't work as well in this book. Specifically the big secret that Tess has been keeping for years.  I was able to figure that out pretty quickly, but it did not diminish from my enjoyment of the story.  Secondary characters in this book, specifically Eli and Claire, are engaging and sympathetic.

This isn't my favorite book by Scott (that be a tie between Stealing Heaven and The Unwritten Rule), but I enjoyed reading it, and finished it quickly.  I'd recommend it to Elizabeth Scott and Sarah Dessen fans.

This review was based off an ARC that I received for free in the mail.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Team Gale 4-eva!

I am totally, and always have been, Team Gale when it comes to the Hunger Games.  I get it, blah blah Peeta, blah blah, sweet, blah blah, more of a girl than Katniss (that is until Katniss turns mega PMS mopey girl in Mockingjay *insert vomitting sound here*).  So, I was very unhappy to find out that Miley Cyrus's ex (yes, that Miley with the adult oriented pictures, the drunken puffed face, the man-voice...her!) ex-boyfriend has been cast as, arguably, my favorite character in The Hunger Games trilogy.

Gale has black hair, olive skin, and grey eyes.  Lots of girls in town think that he is the hotness.  So, in casting, they pick this guy:

That guy

I am sorry, and I don't know the guy from Adam, but he looks like a chode.  And again, seriously, Miley?  EWWWW.  Then, in reading a vague review of The Hunger Games movie script I hear that Gale's part has been expanded in the movie....but for reasons that are teh suck.  

Seriously, should I just give up now?

Excuse me while I go prepare my alter so I can do an awesome "Make the Hunger Games Movie NOT TEH SUCK!" spell...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Displays!

Last week my boss and I attended a conference called Spring Institute.  This is a once a year event where Children and Teen librarians gather, learn, meet awesome authors (and take awkward pictures), and socialize.  One of the best break out sessions that I attended at the conference dealt with book displays.  When I got back "home" to my library I decided to put some of the ideas from that break out into practice when designing my new displays.

Right now in the Teen Department we have 4 displays: Anti-Bullying, Staff Picks (soon to expand to include Teen Advisory Board suggestions), Spring books (books with flowers or greenery on the cover), and Humorous books (or books with the word laugh, joke, the title).  We also do as much faceout work with books as we possibly can.

Here's the whole Humorous book display.

Here you can see a mix of different material types that are on display.  There's a DVD case, an audiobook, and hardcover and paperback books.  

We also cut out the words HAHA and LOL and included them.  Plus, we added die-cut flowers to the tables throughout the entire department, and on the pillars.  Also notice books stacked on top of one another.  This creates different levels of height.

Here's our spring displays featuring books with flowers and greenery.  As you can see the books have staggered height.  Unfortunately the picture is not as clear since this display is right near a window.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What I've been reading

I'm getting ever closer to the end of school, and that means I am getting ever closer to being able to read for fun again!  That said, I've been able to sneak some books in here or there.  Here's a breakdown of what I've been reading lately.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Vol. 3
     I love the movie, so I decided to read through the graphic novels.  They have the same feel, but are obviously different.  Ramona actually seems like she might like Scott in the books, rather than whatever it is that she has going on in the movie.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
     Again, I love the movie, so I decided to read the book.  There's actually a story behind my love of books on which movies were based.  A long time ago, I got out of the reading habit.  I didn't read much for years.  Two things brought me back to reading: Harry Potter, and books that had been made into movies and TV shows (this was before Harry Potter had itself been made into a series of movies).
     That said, I've been working on Clockwork for awhile now, and I'm having some trouble with it.  The slang is hard to deal with a bit, and also, I can't read for too long without feeling like I need to take a shower.  I might get through the book, I might not, but I will always love the movie.

Matched by Ally Condi
     This book I just started, and it's been all the hype with the librarian crowd...or it was, and I am kinda behind, but that's what happens.  I just started and so far the writing style is really sucking me in.  I can't wait to get further into it and see what happens.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sweet Valley

Ok, the world is a-buzz with Sweet Valley news.  It's all over twitter, The Mountain Goats even tweeted about Sweet Valley.  Why is it everywhere?  Because!!  There is a NEW SWEET VALLEY BOOK out!  Yes!  It has happened!  Elizabeth and Jessica got past those pesky teen years (or I guess they did that sometime in the series when I had given up reading?  I heard something about an earthquake and people dying and what not).

I am about to embark on a review reading from over at Forever Young Adult but before I spoil myself too much I am going to wax all poetic about my on-going love for the crap-fest that is Sweet Valley.

So yeah, basically chicky-babe Francine Pascal, or whomever, wrote a shitton of books about the physically perfect Wakefield twins and their idyllic, and not so idyllic, lives in Sweet Valley, California.  The girls somehow managed (at one point in time) to be 6 years old, 12 years old, and 16 years old all at the same time (see Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Twins, and Sweet Valley High).  These books shaped my youth.  Or they were part of it.  Seriously.  Yeah I still remember asking for Sweet Valley High 40 for Christmas in 5th grade, then pouring over it the whole day (or well the hour and a half it took me to read it).  Because that was the book where REGINA DIED!  Yes, the infamous, try coke once and you DIE story-line!

The girl who modeled for Lila on the cover of the original books was the most beautiful girl I'd seen, and dude, I don't care if he is the biggest lamer EVER (aside from Jeffrey French) but I was totally in love with Todd.  Seriously.  I couldn't help it.  He seemed so nice, and sweet, and I was 9.

I loved those books, and of course the Baby-Sitter's Club, and some of the other generic and random series that were all craptabulous but that I loved.  So, it's been awesome to delve into the Sweet Valley Nostalgia...well aside from the nice trips down memory lane that Forever Young Adult offers every so often with the Sweet Valley drinking game posts.  Now, off to read the review of the newest Sweet Valley book!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I got to meet Markus Zusak!

Yes!  You read that correctly.  I, Kat Werner, got to meet MARKUS ZUSAK!  The author of I am the Messenger, The Book Thief, and more.  This morning at the Michigan Library Association's Spring Institute conference Mr. Zusak addressed a room full of librarians.  He talked about his relationship with his brother, writing The Book Thief, and generally made us all laugh and adore him.  Seriously, he is teh awesome.

After he spoke, I went to my room to get my bag and check out of the hotel.  When I was done with that I went back to the convention area to get ready for a break out session.  Well, whom did I see slightly cornered by librarians in the hallway but Markus Zusak himself!  He was signing books for the librarians.  So, I patiently waited my turn, and approached him sans book, instead I asked if instead he'd take a picture with me.  He nicely obliged and even let me touch him!  Ok, that sounds a little stalkerish...I realize that, but I am seriously still geeking out about it!

I also got to meet the awesome Jennifer Brown who wrote Hate List.  I did not get to get a picture with her, but I did get to say hello, and she was also very nice.  She spoke last night at the conference, and did an amazing job.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Walking Dead Vol. 1

So, zombies freak me out.  I love zombies at times, but also, get the hella scared of them.  Told my boyfriend about what I mean when I say scared, and his eyes got kinda big and he looked a little worried....cause yeah, when I say I get 'scared' I am not talking like creeped out, I mean OH GOD OH GOD WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE, and they are going to totally reever our asses while like doing adult things to our bodies, all while we are still alive and now turning into zombies ourselves.  But that fear only comes in the middle of the night, when I am home alone.

That all said and done, I read The Walking Dead Vol. 1.  I've seen the entire first season (I did NOT watch the show while alone), and decided I'd also like to read the books.  The first volume is a quick read, if you are familiar with the TV show you will know the premise of the story, and see that the show follows pretty closely to the book (but also takes some big liberties).  I have to say that I enjoyed the book.  I probably enjoy it more because I have seen the show, and I am more involved with the characters because of the show.  I'm going to read more volumes, in fact they are waiting to be checked out right now.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Three Black Swans

Cousins Missy and Claire have always been close, and people often mistake them for twins. So, when Missy decides to pull a hoax and introduce Claire (who lives 20 minutes away) as her long lost identical twin, she has no idea what sort of secrets she might dig up. 

I loved Caroline B. Cooney when I was younger, and this book got good reviews, so it went into the pile to be read. I have to say that it started off a little choppy, but I couldn't help but get involved in the characters. I actually teared up near the end of the book. I'd suggest it mostly for female readers, because I think girls will relate to at least one of the girls in the book

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Easy A - a review

As a Teen Librarian I get to order and process books.  Well, I also now order, process, and maintain a teen DVD collection as well.  A recent addition to this collection is the movie Easy A starring Emma Stone.  I was pretty psyched to see this movie because it looked funny, and I think Emma Stone is awesome (even if she is starting to get a little too Lohan skinny).

The movie Easy A finds Emma Stone's character, Olive, selling made up sex and make out stories to boys who want to help their reputations.  Olive gets a reputation as the school slut, and then starts dressing up to that reputation.  All the while, she is secretly (or not so secretly) in love with a fellow student, and she has yet to even sleep with anyone.  During this time, Olive's English class is reading The Scarlet Letter, and Olive relates more and more to Hester Prynne and the movie goes along.

I could easily tell that whomever made this movie LOVES 80's movies, because I saw a ton of homages to my much beloved decade of movies.  Also, there were some downright hilarious parts in Easy A.  On a whole though, the movie fell kinda flat.  Emma Stone kept making faces, and wasn't as fun and spunky as she was in Zombieland or Superbad.  Most of the "teenagers" looked way older than they were supposed to be, and the romantic plot was pretty obvious.  Plus, what school is going to let a girl go around in bustiers all the time?  Meh.  Not overly impressed.

Also, this movie has the WORST lighting I've ever seen.  Emma stone didn't look pale, she looked like she'd been dead in the bottom of a river for 3 months then dragged out and forced to star in this movie.  She was that level of pale.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I got an article published!  This week my very first article in VOYA (Voices of Youth Advociates) magazine came out.  The article is about Twitter, and using Twitter as a librarian.  I'm so proud, and very excited.  I love writing, love my job, love technology, and this article combined all three.  :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011: The Year of Awesome!

So, 2011 is a bit new, but so far it's been the year of awesome! 

I haven't blogged in a bit, but that's cause my normal routine got all thrown out of whack the middle of last month.  I had some personal stuff go down, and it didn't seem to be fun but things turned out great!  Through a little bit of pain I realized that I have awesome friends, and I realized that people I didn't know cared about me really did.

Also, earlier this week, I found out that I was 1.5 lbs away from my weight loss goal.  I hate to admit this in many ways, but it's hard to deny what I used to look like...but that means that a few days ago I had gotten to the point where I'd lost 150 lbs.  The day after Christmas I hit my jean size goal.  Now I am at a place I never thought I'd ever be.  I am healthy, beautiful, and happy with my body.  I mean not perfectly happy, but happier.

Since I never did a "year in review" thing, I am kind of doing that now.  2010 was great.  It was hard, it was crappy, but it was great.  I learned I can do it on my own, and I learned that I don't have to.  I learned that I have real friends, and awesome family.  I reconnected with people.  I loved, I lost, and I realized that I will survive, and can even look forward to what comes next. 

So far this year I've gotten a new piercing, I'll be getting a new tattoo, I've worked on moving on some more, and I have tickets to a concert!  Frick yeah Interpool!  This is only three weeks in?  Yeah, I can't wait to see what the rest of 2011 brings.  I'm ready!