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Take Five with NARC author Crissa-Jean Chappell
Jul 22nd, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Crissa-Jean Chappell with NARC

NARC

By Crissa-Jean Chappell

What could happen if you’re caught by the police with illegal drugs? Criss-Jean Chappell discovered that many young adults are forced to turn NARC, many more than anyone could imagine, or face severe consequences, including jail time. Here’s my review as posted on GOODREADS – NARC by Crissa-Jean Chappell is a powerful, eye-opening novel about a boy named Aaron who gets himself into some serious trouble. I was deeply impressed with how Chappell brought out Aaron’s voice, making him a sympathetic, troubled young man who is deeply loyal to family, protective of friends, and caught in the middle of his poor choices from the past and his current desire to make changes in his life. He takes some stupid risks and gets mixed up in some pretty messy things, all involving drugs. This is a cautionary tale – well written, strong voice, and fascinating supporting characters.
I definitely recommend NARC. This book should be in every HS.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of NARC through GOODREADS –

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/29064-narc

AND – ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive a copy from ME when the book debuts – Just post a comment below. Twitter followers – 1 extra entry. Facebook followers – 1 extra entry, Tweet or post on Facebook – each counts as an extra entry. Follow Crissa-Jean on Twitter @CrissaChappell – 1 extra entry – GIVEAWAY ENDS: SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 8PM CST, WINNER CHOSEN – QU HARRISON

1. NARC is a powerful novel about perceptions – people aren’t who they seem on the outside. This message goes with the concept of “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” How do you apply this to the characters in NARC?

When the story opens, Aaron is in his senior year at Palm Hammock. In his mind, everybody at school wears a mask. Sometimes it feels like you’re given an assigned role (like players in a chess game). He dreams about flipping the board and starting over with a new set of rules.

Aaron is “human wallpaper.” He’s on the outside, looking in. Then he meets Morgan, the so-called popular girl with the Cleopatra hair. As they grow closer, he learns that things aren’t so easy for her, either. At lunch, she would rather sit under a tree with a book than face the stares and whispers in the cafeteria. He soon finds out why.

2. Often in life, young adults have a tough time identifying their strengths. But once a person focuses on them, they can guide a person in making a difference in this world. Looking at Aaron, take one or two of his strengths. What would you wish for him to do with them?

Although he wouldn’t call himself strong, Aaron makes a lot of difficult decisions. He’s not an adult yet, but he’s forced into a position that requires him to act like one. At last, someone is taking him seriously. I believe that young adults are often pushed off to the side. They feel like their thoughts and opinions don’t matter. All they want is for us to listen. Aaron needs to find his voice. That’s where he discovers his inner strength.

3. On the flip side, many people get locked in their weaknesses. What are Aaron’s weaknesses and what can he do to start moving away from using them as a crutch to fail?

He desperately wants to be liked. Throughout the book, he uses magic tricks to get attention. In a way, Aaron feels like he has to pretend (or be fake) in order for people to like him. Sometimes it takes the shape of lies. Or hiding your true feelings, all because you’re afraid of being judged. The kid who’s cracking jokes in the back row? He might be hurting on the inside, but never shows it.

Pretending is like battle armor in high school.

4. NARC definitely makes the reader think. How has this story impacted you, changed you?

In my research, I discovered that it’s not as unusual as you might think—young people (including teens) who put their lives in danger to work as police informants. I was drawn to the idea of a seventeen-year-old doing an adult’s job. And I was curious about the ways it would change his view of the world.

5. You said that you see yourself as a little bit of an “outsider” or an observer. What do you mean and why has it made you a better writer?

Much like Aaron, I floated like a ghost through school (and that was okay with me). Sometimes I wanted to be invisible. That would be my super power. When you’re quiet and spend a lot of time alone, you learn to pay attention.

As a storyteller, you must be an observer of human behavior. That’s where you find the good stuff—the way people speak, the funny gestures they make. I also love to draw. When I’m working on a book, I see it as “drawing with words.” I try to create little portraits of things around me. It might be the smell of low tide at Biscayne Bay. Or a boy speeding past me on a skateboard. He’s got his headphones on and he knows exactly where he’s going. I’ll make up what happens next.

DON’T MISS THESE VIDEOS: And guess what? Crissa-Jean made them.  Here’s what she said: “Yes, I made the videos. (I was a film major in college and I also taught film back in Miami.) One of my former students, Marlon Morina, designed the animated trailer for NARC. In fact, I’m working on a new book about…film school kids!

NARC book trailer from crissachappell on Vimeo.

Literary Outlaws

NARC: seven secrets from crissachappell on Vimeo.

literary outlaws from crissachappell on Vimeo.

Once Upon A Read-A-Thon Blog Post
Jul 9th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Since I began hosting the Holiday Readathon two years ago, I love participating in others whenever I get a chance. ONCE UPON A READ-A-THON is hosted by Pure Imagination –   http://www.pureimaginationblog.com/ Candace’s Book Blog – http://www.candacesbookblog.com/ and Reading Angel – http://www.readingangel.com/ Definitely check them out!

Here’s what I’ve been reading: I finished Cold Kiss and Glass Heart by Amy Garvey. I had been hesitant to read Cold Kiss because I knew it involved a zombie and in all honesty, zombie novels are not my favorite. But Cold Kiss surprised me. The paranormal aspect was intriguing and well done. The romance aspect wasn’t what I expected, either. It was sweet and definitely captured the emotion of first love. There were no zombies in Glass Heart, and I actually enjoyed it even more than Cold Kiss. I really liked the relationship between Wren and Gabriel, which began in Cold Kiss and was an integral part in Glass Heart. Fans of paranormal romance will really like these books.

Me Before You is a novel I picked up at the BEA and I absolutely loved it!  It’s not available in the United States until December 2012, but I have to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if it hit the New York Times Best Seller’s List.  It isn’t YA but it definitely is appropriate for older young adults. The novel is set in a small English town. Louisa Clark is twenty-six years old and out of a job. After going to the Job Center for the third or fourth time, she’s given the opportunity to interview for a position taking care of a paraplegic. What transpires from the moment she gets the job is absolutely breathtaking, powerfully emotional, heartbreaking,  and thought provoking. The writing is masterful. I read it cover to cover, totally engrossed in the dynamics of the characters and their trials and tribulations. What is so extraordinary is how the author, Jojo Moyes, portrays the life of a paraplegic. Any description by me would be an understatement.

I can’t rave about this novel enough! Put it on your must-read list.

I also finished Wanderlove. Any young adult who is thinking about taking a trip after high school, but isn’t sure about it should absolutely read Wanderlove. Bria Sandoval takes a trip to Central America and finds herself on a tour with people over three times her age. It’s hardly the tour she thought she had signed up for. When a backpacker named Rowan asks her to come to an island for dinner, it’s the beginning of a new adventure for Bria. She goes through many challenges, both physically and emotionally. It’s a time of great discovery and an opportunity to reconnect with drawing, something she loves to do but gave up because of a painful breakup. As she rediscovers her passion, she begins to realize how much she wishes she hadn’t allowed a guy to keep her from pursuing her dreams. Her revelation is quite insightful. I loved Bria’s journey of discovery. I loved traveling with her and learning more about her life. I loved finding out about Rowen and appreciated how he decided to turn his life around. I loved Wanderlove. It’s another YA novel I highly recommend.

From the challenge posted by IB Book Blogging – http://ibbookblogging.net/

Taken by Erin Bowman

Question 1:

What is your favorite cover that has been revealed this summer and why? Post a link or picture of the cover if you want.

I love the cover of Taken by Erin Bowman – the colors are stunning, it provokes questions, and it definitely made me want more.

Question 2:

Do you rely on the cover to help you choose whether you want to read a book or not?

I definitely am attracted to a beautiful cover, but it isn’t the main reason why I read a novel. A cool cover will make me pick the book up and read the blurb and any endorsements, but it’s not the reason why I buy or check out a book from the library. Ultimately, I rely on a combination of reviews, endorsements, and whether or not I’m interested in the subject matter.

 

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