The Program, by Suzanne Young – Book Club Event at Boswell Books
Apr 29th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer



Thank you to Boswell Books for hosting our book club! For more info on this fantastic indie books store, check out Boswell Books.

Goodreads Summary:  

For more info: Goodreads

Programcover In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only suzanneyoungsolution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My take: 

Intense, powerful, suspenseful. Kids are committing suicide left and right. It’s an epidemic. Certain kids are more at risk than others – those who lost a family member or a friend. The Program will make sure that you’ll be okay. Except no one comes out the same. Good memories, bad memories will vanish. You’ll have holes in your life, but hey – if it keeps you alive, it’s so much better than the alternative, right? Or is The Program what’s driving kids to kill themselves?

I read this this ARC for our book club and we all agreed that THE PROGRAM is a fantastic book for discussion. Our conversations about the characters, their relationships, The Program and its impact really made me think. I hope that others will read this with a group, and if not, that there are online discussion groups to add your perspective and to get others’ thoughts. Does suicides breed more suicides? Would you want to lose your memories? Do antidepressants help or add to the problem? All fascinating questions.

At times, I found the book to be quite dark – after all, it is about suicide. The suspense and sweet romance balances some of that out.

Suzanne Young is a terrific writer. Guaranteed to have you hooked.

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Heidi from YA Bibliophile showing us her cool nails and the “ring” connected to the book!

Definitely read with a group if you can!

We truly had lively discussion and enjoyed sharing our perspectives. One thing that we all thought was interesting is that this novel has a dystopian feel, but we wouldn’t necessarily categorize it that way.

HUGE THANKS TO: The awesome Heidi @ YA Bilbliophile for putting this event together for our group. She is so creative and organized. Her enthusiasm is contagious! <3 her!


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Heidi from YA Bibliophile, our awesome organizer! Look at the awesome bags, pretzels, cupcakes she made! Oh and we had jelly beans for our “pills.”

Waiting on Wednesday (9): The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Apr 17th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

15805597Waiting on Wednesday (9):

The Book of Broken Hearts

by Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Simon Pulse, pages: 352

Pub date: May 21, 2013

From Goodreads:

When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

My thoughts: This book sounds amazing. What I would expect: rich, fascinating, memorable characters – and oh so romantic. 😀 I am definitely a Sarah Ockler fan. I have loved her other novels and highly recommend that you check them out on her website or her Goodreads page.

Take Five Q & A with Rainbow Rowell & Giveaway of a Signed Copy of: ELEANOR & PARK
Apr 16th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

15795357Take Five Q & A and Giveaway:about_headshot


by Rainbow Rowell

From Goodreads: 

“Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re sixteen.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
”I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under

My perspective:

I was fortunate to hear Rainbow speak at an April 4th event through Boswell Books. I must say, Rainbow is hilarious, dynamic, and quick with a quip. She had the crowd laughing and smiling.  I absolutely loved Eleanor & Park and I think many people will be able to relate to her characters on a deep level: emotional pain and fear, love and longing, feeling out of place and wishing so much to be seen and not seen. In my opinion, Eleanor & Park is the best of the best – incredible characters, incredible dialogue. It’s a heartfelt, heart-wrenching story that will leave you gasping and holding on to a thread of hope. Something we all need, especially when things are tough.

And if Rainbow Rowell has her way, readers will be blessed to find out her vision of what happens to these characters when they’re thirty! Personally, I can’t wait to read that book!

Q & A:

1. There are many phrases that people use to explain beauty like: Beauty is not only skin deep. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Both these seem to be an underlying theme of Eleanor & Park. Though I wouldn’t exactly call these definitions of beauty a theme of this novel, it is prevalent. What is it that compelled you to guide your readers to think about these concepts?

I never say in the book whether Eleanor is beautiful or Park is handsome. I don’t really believe in universal beauty or attractiveness — attraction is the magic that happens between two people.

Park thinks Eleanor is breathtaking. Eleanor thinks Park is perfect. And so they are.

That isn’t a fantasy world that I’m portraying; that’s how the world really is. It’s a painful waste of time trying to be the sort of beautiful that everyone can agree on.

2. Your characters often are faced with difficult situations that leave them powerless. I don’t think anyone hasn’t felt this way at some point in their lives. What is important for YA, especially, to know or to do when they feel this way?

Hmm. That’s a good question, but not one I’m sure I can answer. You really are almost powerless when you still live with your parents. If your home life sucks, there’s not much you can do about it. (I say that from experience.) I think it’s important for young people to realize they’re going to inherit their own lives very soon. You won’t always be stuck inside someone else’s dysfunction. In a way, your job is to keep yourself sane and whole, to the best of your ability, until your life is your own. 

Also, I think it’s important to remember that no one gets by on their own. You have to ask for help sometimes. You have to trust other people. 

3. True love and loss also permeates this story, as does hope. Why was it so important for you to give hope to your characters and how do you feel that translates for anyone who is in the midst of tremendous despair? 

 I think I just believed that there was hope. For all of them. (But I tend to always err on the side of hope.) (How I roll.)

4. Celebrate individuality is another one of those underlying themes of Eleanor & Park. But often times people strive so hard to conform. Why is individuality so important to you and for your readers?

When I was younger, I remember really wanting to fit in — but also really wanting to distinguish myself. That’s the tension both Eleanor and Park feel. That fear of standing out, but also that desperate need to be recognized as an individual … I’m not sure I ever got over those feelings.

 I wasn’t intentionally celebrating individuality in the book. Or trying to teach any lessons. These are just the characters that came to me. This is what felt real to me.

5. Your characters live in a tough community – yet there is a richness to it that most people probably wouldn’t see just driving by. What is it that people can learn from this?

I think most communities are much richer than outsiders realize. You have to live inside of a community to understand the rules and the hierarchy, the connections. That’s something Eleanor struggles with, as an outsider. Even though Park, as one of the only Asian people in the neighborhood, looks different — he was born and raised there. He knows how it works. 

To learn more about Rainbow Rowell visit her website.

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Waiting on Wednesday (8) Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry
Apr 11th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

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DARE YOU TO (Pushing the Limits #2)

By Katie McGarry

Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 462 pages

Pub date: June 7, 2013

From Goodreads: Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all.

Why I’m looking forward to this novel: I really enjoyed Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits. She writes strong, deep, emotional characters that keep readers interested. It’ll be exciting to see where she takes Beth, a secondary character from Pushing the Limits, who is now in the spotlight as the main character. Here’s another reason: I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have issues or problems they’ve had to face in their lives. Katie takes them on in her books and gives readers hope for something good to come. I love that. I think it’ll inspire others too!

For more information about these two books and more, check out Katie’s Goodreads page. Or her website.


Waiting on Wednesday (7) When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Apr 3rd, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

12157780Waiting on Wednesday (7)

When You Were Here

By Daisy Whitney

Publisher: Little Brown, 257 Pages

Pub Date: June 4, 2013

From Goodreads:

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.

Danny’s mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn’t know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom’s property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother’s memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harijuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

Why I can’t wait to read this novel: I’ve heard a lot of my blogger friends talking about this book, and even though a few read it months and months ago (they were fortunate to receive an ARC), they still say it was unforgettable. That’s more than good enough for me! Besides, doesn’t the idea of Tokyo as a setting sound amazing? I’m certain this will be quite heart-wrenching, but I’m looking forward to learning about Danny and his mom. Death is never an easy topic to write about or to read about, but it’s an inevitable human experience. From what I’ve heard from my blogger friends, Daisy Whitney shares a powerful story with her readers. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.


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