Thursday, August 28, 2014

REVIEW--Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Ok, don't be turned off by the title of this book.  I have to admit--I'm not a fan of the title because it will turn some readers away immediately.  So I didn't have the highest expectations for the book.  But I was wrong.  Let me explain...

  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic fiction (urban fiction)
The Gist:
Piddy Sanchez just moved to a new school and isn't necessarily happy about it.  Her mom has taken her away from all that's familiar and put her in an urban, and let's be honest, depressing school.  But she's focused on getting good grades so she can move forward to be a veterinarian.  And then a friend approaches her at school one day to drop the bomb that Yaqui Delgado wants to kick Piddy's a**.  And this is a shock to Piddy, because Piddy doesn't even know what Yaqui looks like.  But Yaqui knows Piddy and knows that her boyfriend was checking Piddy out, and that's all she needs to want to get revenge.  Piddy is now scared to go to school or to walk home alone, and she's just not sure who she can trust.

What I Loved:
  •  I was completely engaged in this book.  I cared about Piddy and her situation (and I've seen way too many students caught up in misunderstandings that turn violent).  It was realistic (which is too bad) and meaningful.
  • I felt like the adults were realistic, and even though they weren't always completely helpful, they also weren't weak.  They helped Piddy in the best way they knew how, which again is something I see so often through working in public schools.
  • I was satisfied with the ending.  It wasn't perfect and people could judge it as making Piddy look either strong or weak, but again, I think it was pretty darn realistic.  
What I Didn't Love:
  • The title.  Not trying to be elementary here (even though I'm not a cusser myself), but I know many people who would completely pass this by because of the title.  And I may have an issue booktalking it in my school. 
A great read that so accurately depicted real life in an urban school and neighborhood.  I definitely enjoyed it!  

I'll be designing an outfit for Piddy, so check back for that soon!  And also coming soon is something I like to call "How NOT to Dress like a Librarian."  Should be fun!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Loners-Inspired Outfit

Hi, readers and fashionistas!

I recently reviewed the book The Loners from the Quarantine series by Lex Thomas (which is two guys, by the way--Lex and Thomas).  I gave it 5 high heels because I loved every minute of reading it (even when I was horrified and closing my eyes!).  So today's outfit is inspired by that book...let's jump into it!

In the book, the teens stuck inside their high school divide into different groups based on their cliques.  You've got the jocks (called Varsity), the geeks, the sluts, the artsy, etc.  And they wear different colors to identify their specific clique.  Today's outfit focuses on Varsity's girlfriends--the preppy girls.  They still try to look as stylish as possible and they are basically at Varsity's beck and call.  Not the nicest girls on the block (as the stereotype of preppy girls would suggest), and they can turn downright violent when they need to.  Trust me on that--you'll have to read the book to see how violent they get!

The preppy girls wear yellow, so that's obviously the inspiration for the outfit.  How do you focus on a single color in your outfit without it being overbearing?  Here's what I came up with:

I can totally see a preppy girl wearing this in The Loners, so let me explain why:
  • Obviously the skinny pants emphasize the main color of the outfit--yellow.  Skinny pants are all the rage right now, so a popular girl would choose those over a boot cut.
  • A white lacy blouse gives off a feminine touch.
  • The daisy necklace is also a soft touch to the outfit while still adding yellow touches.  And even though these girls are definitely not the sweetest or softest, they often give the illusion of being so.
  • Gold gladiator sandals and yellow stacked bracelets accent the outfit well without giving off a yellow explosion.
So what do you think?  Would you wear this?  Think it fits the girls in The Loners? How would you design an outfit around the color yellow?

Pants--House of Fraser
Blouse--Rag and Bone 
Sandals--Sam Edelman
Bracelets--Chan Luu 

*I am not associated with any companies/products mentioned. 

Check back tomorrow for another review--on a book that I surprisingly enjoyed!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Showing Off Harry Potter in the Library

Hi, readers and fashionistas!  Hey, did you know that your library/book displays can be fashionable, too? 

I have to admit it--it hurts my heart to walk into a library and see only outdated Garfield-reading-books-while-eating-lasagna posters.  I know, I know--there is NOTHING wrong with Garfield and I love him as much as the next 80s child...but he's outdated.  And my high school kids don't really know much about him. 

So I get really excited when I find creative ways to share students' love of YA books.  And it really makes a difference to add vibrant, contemporary displays.  I'm SO excited about my newest displays in the library, which are all about Harry Potter!  Here they are:

So I have a collection of 8 posters here...and from afar they don't look like much.  But this is the ENTIRE Harry Potter series in image form!  Look at these close-ups:
Book 5, when Luna comes into play--I love Luna!  Look at the amazing detail on these posters!
Book 4--one of my favorites!
These are called "Sumharry" posters--get it?  You can find them here.  If memory serves me right, I believe you can purchase them for a small donation fee.  And they're so worth it--the students love finding their favorite HP scenes in the images.
Now check this out:
That's one of my HUGE bulletin boards with an HP quote (from Book 7) painted on.  Isn't it amazing?!  Yeah, I didn't do it.  But my awesome friend Emily did.
Here she is, working on her masterpiece.  Yeah, she free-handed (or should I say free-painted) this without drawing it in pencil first.  She's super duper talented, and you should go check out her Etsy shop.
So what do you think?  Do you think these displays step it up a notch?  I'm absolutely loving them!
What cool book displays/signs do you have?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

REVIEW--The Loners

I have been booktalking all know, I've been describing books to students to help them pick out something that they'll like.  And it was so. much. fun.  I love that "oh wow!" moment when I tell them something special about a book or surprise them when something they know they'll love.  And speaking of a book that I love...

Let's talk about The Loners.  It's the first in a series called Quarantine, and wow!  Just wow!  One of the most action-packed, surprising, and even violent books that I've read in a while.  Let's jump right in!

  • First in the Quarantine series
  • Dystopian
The Gist:
On the first day of school, David is mostly concerned with making sure his brother, Will, has a good day as a new freshman.  Oh, and he's trying to avoid the football team who thinks he deserted them (which he kind of did) and his ex-girlfriend who left him for a teammate.  But there won't be any avoidance for long, because a virus hits the school, killing off all the adults and putting the building under military quarantine.  And for over a year now, David and his entire school's student body have been trapped inside, fighting for food, power, and their lives.  And for David and Will, who have no outside friends, they have to fight the most.

What I Loved:
  • Oh my goodness!  This was such a fast-paced, action-packed, shocking, exhilarating,  crazy read!  I kept thinking "how will they ever get out of this?!" and was constantly surprised by the characters and their actions.  
  • This book takes Lord of the Flies to a whole new level, and I know my students will eat it up!  The fight for power and the strength in alliances speak VOLUMES in this book.
  • So much thought went in to how students of all backgrounds would react to such a crisis.  From where they station themselves to how they make use of their time, they were grouped in fairly accurate ways. 
What I Didn't Love:
  • Once the virus hits, the military quarantines the school within minutes, and I found this immediate reaction to be highly unlikely.  And the military seemed so cold against the students, only dropping down food.  Wouldn't they have wanted to establish a communicative effort?  Work to reunite conversation between families?
  • And speaking of this virus, the fact that it hit everyone at once is also so unlikely.  I can see it spreading, sure, but a kid runs into the building and then all of a sudden everyone has it? 

Despite having a few things I didn't like, I LOVED this book.  So creative and creepy all at the same time!  I'll definitely be jumping on the sequel!  And I'll also be designing an outfit based on one of the student groups.  Now go read The Loners!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A little strong or a little sweet...Pretty Girl-13-Inspired Outfit

Well, I made it through the first week of school!  And it was probably my BEST start to a school year that I've ever had (score!).  I'm loving my students and the direction that our semester is taking.  Just feels good to be back in the swing of things!

Last week I reviewed Pretty Girl-13...not my favorite book for sure, but I knew it gave me some great outfit inspiration.  In the book, Angie has several personalities that often take over.  So I thought I'd take an article of clothing and show how to style it for two very different personalities.  The article?  A long-sleeved flannel shirt.  Fall is coming up--the perfect time for flannel.

So here's what I designed:

Isn't that flannel shirt so cute?!

So what kinds of personalities are you seeing?  Angie had one personality that was like her protector, her "strong" side, so that's the outfit on the left.  And then Angie sometimes communicated with a child-like personality, hence the soft and sweet look on the right.  Let's break them down.

To toughen up a look, add skinny jeans and a leather jacket.  The flannel softens the jacket but the whole outfit still has a stronger appeal.
To soften it, add a flare skirt with a glittery belt and pearls (fake will do!).  This really "girls" up the outfit and keeps it looking sweet and innocent.

Which one do you like better?  I could see myself wearing the outfit on the left to a hayride and the one on the right to a dinner out.

Tomorrow I'll have a new book review on a book that I just COULDN'T put down!

*I am not associated with any companies/clothing items mentioned.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

REVIEW--Pretty Girl-13

Hi, readers and fashionistas!  So guess what today was--yep, the first day of school!  Wow, the first day is always exhausting but yet fun at the same time.  I can already tell that it's going to be a really fun year with my students--they seem excited to be in the library and they all seem to be readers.  We are ready to tackle the school year!

Today's review is on Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley.  I'm so glad that I read this book and Elizabeth Smart's memoir so close to each other.  Even though the stories have definite differences, they nevertheless connect in their content.  So let's jump right in!

  • Realistic fiction
  • Standalone novel
The Gist:
When Angie Chapman went on a camping trip at age 13, the unthinkable happened--she was kidnapped.  Just gone, and no amounts of searching or media pleas brought her home.  Fast forward three years later, and Angie walks in her front door, completely unaware that she has been missing.  Her memory loss of where she has been and how she returned home is a complete mystery, and it will take a deep look into her psyche to find the answers.

What I Loved:
  • I have not read anything about this kind of psychological situation before.  Angie suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and I was fascinated by the way it impacted Angie's life.  She could fall into another identity so quickly and unexpected, and I found it so interesting to see how she responded to that.
  • I love the cover.  The doorway really fits the plot.
What I Didn't Love:
  • Angie is gone for three years and I didn't find her return home to be that welcoming.  Students at school didn't care, her dad has anger/blame issues that prevent him from caring for her, there's little media attention--I just expected so much more from a kidnapped girl case.
  • I found Angie's therapy sessions, which were highly successful in eliminating various identities, to be a little unrealistic.  Seemed a little too good to be true and the longer I read the more I found it unbelievable.
  • Just lacked depth for me--I couldn't relate to Angie or her parents or her friends. 
  • If I had been kidnapped, I would want to know what the heck happened/who was involved.  But when Angie has the chance to uncover some secrets, like the odd inscription on her ring, she keeps the message to herself and doesn't investigate.
  • Didn't care for the title.
Just not a big fan of this one.  I didn't find it believable--not just Angie's split personalities but the side characters as well.  Just two stars for me.

I'll be posting an outfit, though, to fit a few of Angie's personalities, so check back for that tomorrow!