quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


Join the AW Teen Summer Reading Challenge and win books!

I'm really excited to bring y'all a fun challenge from AW Teen!  There are some great books in their catalog, and this would definitely be worth participating in this summer!

Who: Everyone who loves reading YA!

What: Read any AW Teen title (full list here: http://www.albertwhitman.com/teen/) and review it anywhere (your blog, Goodreads, Instagram, YouTube—wherever!).
When: June 15-August 31, 2016

HowSubmit the link to your review here.

  • You will receive 1 entry for every AW Teen Book you review.

  • You will receive extra entries for sharing that review on Goodreads, Netgalley, Edelweiss, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other review sites.

  • You will receive even more extra entries for following us on our Albert Whitman and AW Teen social media sites!

The Albert Whitman social media accounts:

AND THE PRIZE: Six AW Teen ’16 titles!!!!!!
9780807526828 FutureShock

Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life—or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporations selects her for a top-secret project, she can’t say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future, and she’ll be set for life. Elena travels with four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy. Soon they find themselves running out of time, and deadly secrets are uncovered. Can Elena and her new friends figure out how to change their futures?

Seventeen-year-old Adam Rhodes is famous, but he’s been in a downward spiral since he lost the girl he loved, Marybeth, who went by the stage name Sunshine. Then, Adam is approached by Dr. Elloran with Project Orpheus, who wants to resurrect Sunshine. As the process sweeps Adam and Marybeth ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he’ll go to save her.

Two boys: One is a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other is a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? This unforgettable novel counts down the twelve months leading up to an explosive moment.

Biggie in paperback
Biggie (PB)

At an obese 300+ pounds, Henry “Biggie” Abbott prefers classroom success to sports. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts flirting with him. He’s been told to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play baseball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try.
YouTube stars and best friends Kadence and Lauren recently had a major falling-out over Kadence’s boyfriend. Kadence launched her solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal cords. And she knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. But nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with Kady’s disappearance.

For sixteen-year-old Jillian McKay, the threat of Hurricane Danielle means a long car ride with her neighbors—including River Daughtry, the former star quarterback of Harrison High. The guy who was headed to glory until suddenly he disappeared to a West Texas juvenile detention center. Once cocky and flirtatious, he’s now silent and angry. But their evacuation route is soon gridlocked. As the teens wait out the storm, they confront the past and realize survival is more than just staying alive—it’s about fighting for yourself.

Join the fun and get your read on this summer!


This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart [Review + Interview + Giveaway]

Title: This is the Story of You
Author(s): Beth Kephart
Edition: HC, 264 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Source: Chronicle Books - Part of Blog Tour
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - Book Depository

Tour Schedule

5/31/2016 - Actin' Up with Books
6/1/2016 - Cracking the Cover
6/2/2016 - Stuck In YA Books
6/3/2016 - Eli to the nth (ME!!!!)
6/6/2016 - The Reading Date
6/7/2016 - Emilie's Book World

The Summary

On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But when a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, when it strands Mira’s mother and brother on the mainland and upends all logic, nothing will ever be as it was. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira’s home. A friend obsessed with vanishing is gone. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on—to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future.

Gripping and poetic, This Is the Story of You is about the beauty of nature and the power of family, about finding hope in the wake of tragedy and recovery in the face of overwhelming loss.
My Opinion

This is the Story of You is one of those stories that stick with you after you finish the last page.  The story of Mira and her small island community going through a storm as horrible as Hurricane Sandy, in which this story pulls inspiration from, is pulse-racing.  And it is not the moments within the storm, weathering the wind and rain and floods, it is the aftermath that is truly devastating.

A story of strength, rebuilding, friendship, and family, Beth Kephart manages to express the experience that Mira goes through in precise and lyrical language.  A feast for the eyes, the prose contained in these pages make the story that much more impactful, and manage to add an entire layer to the events of the book.  Each aspect of this book, the plot, the characterization, the setting, are all elevated by Beth's prose.  It is striking, and paints a picture of exactly what Mira sees and does, but also what she feels.  The emotional tone of this book is what makes it so personal while reading.

Beautifully written, and veritable emotional punch, This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart needs to be on everyone's reading list this summer.

Final Rating

Interview with Beth Kephart

First of all, I want to thank you Beth for taking the time to answer my questions.  I really appreciate it.  

Eli, thank YOU so much. Thank you for agreeing to share your virtual home with me.

I’m going to start with book/writing specific questions, then I’ll have some fun ones!

First question, why is one reason readers should pick up This is the Story of You?

This is a mystery set at the Jersey Shore in the wake of a storm like Storm Sandy. It is urgent, an environmental thriller.

Which character do you think is the most important to this story?

I love all my characters, of course; we writers do. But Mira, a teenager who has been left alone in her house when the storm hits, tells this story. We see it all—the fear, the loneliness, the search for her friends, the worry about her brother—through her eyes.

Set in the North Atlantic, the similarities to Hurricane Sandy are there; was there specific inspiration behind the premise of the book?

Yes. I am deeply committed to our Earth, deeply concerned about rising seas, and when storms hit I cannot look away—all of this inspired THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU. Plus, I grew up going to the Jersey Shore and gosh, I love the sea. Finally, a key character in the book has Hunter syndrome, and I have met and been inspired by others with this condition.

When writing, do you always have a specific plan in place for the direction of the book or do you let it come out naturally?  

I begin with voice—with the sound on the page. In this case, I began with the color blue. I vaguely know where I am headed. But I don’t want to know too much. I write to find out what will happen.

Most books are broken into 3 parts, but the typical bell graph format of events doesn’t seem to be in play in this book; instead it seems to be formatted as a wave, with a high crest right at the beginning and then the book flowing out following the curl.  I may be reading to much into this, but was that a conscience decision to structure the events of the book in this way?

I love your thinking about the book this way. I never have one single plot or emotional line, in any of my books. Many things are at play. In this case, the big storm hits about one-third of the way through. But there is also a mystery in the works—a girl who shows up, a stranger. There’s a thief that has been at work. There are missing characters. So while the storm strikes early-ish on, many unknowns must be encountered and resolved. Many after waves, if you will. Ultimately, this book is about family and how we define family. Mira learns the biggest lessons right at the end.

Most of your books deal with big emotions and, often, traumatic events; what about these things attract you to write about them?

I’m interested in the real things that have and can happened. The Berlin Wall and the legacy of graffiti artists (GOING OVER). Teenage pregnancy and the Spanish Civil War (SMALL DAMAGES). A flood in Florence and neuroscience (ONE THING STOLEN). And, in the case of this book, rising seas and genetic conditions. I may write about these things as fictions. But because the situations are grounded in truth, I write these fictions with the urgency of truth. I teach and also write memoir. I write my novels with the same degree of memoiristic passion.

Thank you so much for those insightful answer!

Okay, now it’s rapid-fire time!

1      Fall, Spring, Summer, or Winter?
Fall! Leaf colors. Chimney smoke. A blanket under which I read.

Hardcover, paperback, or e-book?

Hardback for my shelves, paperback for my travel, e-book for night.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

I write all over the books I love best. I dog ear. I apologize.

Sunrise or sunset?


Long-hand or type-written?

Long-hand. You better believe it. I have a standing desk now. I’m not going to show up and type here until I’m good and ready.

Beginning, middle, or end?

Beginning at the beginning. Middle when I get there. End when I’m exhausted by all that happened in the beginning and the middle.

Thank you again, Beth!  I so enjoyed the book and I know my readers will too!

About the Author

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of nineteen books, including Going Over, Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, and Small Damages. A National Book Award finalist, Kephart is also a winner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fiction grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Leeway grant, a Pew Fellowships in the Arts grant, and the Speakeasy Poetry Prize. Kephart teaches workshops at many institutions, to all ages and creative nonfiction workshops at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a popular keynote speaker and frequent contributor to the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, and many national journals. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and Conditions
Open only to US/CA residents!
No entries outside of US or CA! 
Must be 13 years old to enter. 
ONE winner will win a finished hardcover copy of This is the Story of You.
Winner must have a mailing address within the US/CA.
Prize will be mailed out by publisher (Chronicle Books)
Eli to the nth claims no responsibility for lost prizes.
Winner will be contacted by email. 
Winner has 48 hours to respond with mailing address.
Mailing address will be forwarded to publisher (Chronicle Books)


Trailer Thursday (36)

Today I'm bringing you a trailer for a book that questions what happens when a teenage agoraphobe comes up against his biggest challenger: a determined psychologist-in-training?

Release Date: May 10, 2016

I'm really excited about this book!  I have loved each of John Corey Whaley's previous books (especially Noggin).  This one sounds like it is going to be just as excellent and heartbreaking and weird.  Best yet, it is available in bookstores already!  Score, no waiting!  So watch the trailer, and if you're intrigued, pick up a copy today!


Top Ten Tuesday (45) - Ten Websites I Love That Aren't About Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists there at The Broke and the Bookish. They'd love us to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week they will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of their bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on their post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share.  If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. 
The topic this week is:
Ten Websites I Love That Aren't About Books

I don't really go on a lot of websites that aren't about books, but the ones I do are pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.  I'm going to break it down into categories in order to show off some more specific things.  These are all sites/channels/places of awesome I visit on the regular!


I know it's weird that I read a "mom" blog when I'm not even a parent, but there is just something so beautiful about Rebecca's family.  She also writes about being woman, being confused/scared, life in general.  And those entries are the ones I really love.

Jes is a body positivity badass, and one of my role models for sure.  Her outlook on fatphobia, and a fat woman's place in society is very empowering.  She has helped me deal with some of my issues, and she is just fucking hilarious!

I am a self-affirmed geek (I mean you can't love books as much as I do without being a geek).  Therefore, I love Melinda's blog because she reviews all the fun geeky stuff I'm into, and introduces me to things I might not know about yet!


Sarah is the first vlogger I saw on YouTube that talked so much about Disney.  I love her humor, her enthusiasm, and her heart.  She does really interesting videos all over the geeky spectrum, but her Disney content is top notch, and brings me back every time!

Let's talk motherfucking amazing content.  Casey does a vlog every. single. day. of. the. year.  And they aren't shitty, or uninteresting.  He lives his life authentically, and puts his mad-video skills to great gain.  If you never watch any other vlogger/YouTuber other than Casey, you'll be set.

Please go watch Grace.  Please!!  She is hilarious, smart, and unapologetic.  Her humor is so original, and she just is such a fun person to watch.  The ideas she comes up with sometimes, I don't even know.  Each video, even if it's premise is the stupidest thing ever, is great.  She makes it great.

Hands down the sweetest beauty guru out there.  I love Fleur because it never feels like she makes her videos just to be "on top".  If you watch beauty gurus like I do, you'll know what I mean.  She is genuine, with both her reviews and her product endorsements.  Also her vlog channel (Fleurdevlog) is full of super cute day in the life, starring her, her very handsome husband, and there three adorable puppies!  Love her so much!

Bits and Bobs:

HOCKEY! ROMANCE! SHENANIGANS!  This webcomic has it all!  It is my favorite thing ever, and has taken over my tumblr for real.  It is so so so good, and you should check it out if you haven't already!

Humor gold. The things that people text under the influence (alcohol, drugs, or stupidity - take your pick) is crazy.  If I want a quick chuckle, I definitely head over here.

This site is my life blood.  I am obsessed with posting photos, and I love seeing my friends lives through photos when I can't be there with them.  I've always been an obsessive photographer ever since middle school, so finally having somewhere to post those photos is amazing.

As you can tell, I love the Internet.  I am constantly hooked in, and I know some people think that's horrible, but that is how I experience the world at large.  I get to "meet" new people, sometimes half way around the world.  I get to read interesting posts and learn about new things.  I get to share a piece of my life with people who may need that connection. 

Please check out the websites I shared; they're all pretty great in different ways.  Leave me suggestions of your favorite websites (both about books and not about books ;) ) in the comments!


Bookin' It Around the Web (5)

In Bookin' It Round the Web  I've found some interesting articles or fun posts that I've found while on my daily internet adventures.  Feel free to do this over on your blogs, and leave me links to any cool articles or posts in the comments!
Got any great links to share?


The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden (Review)

Title: The Casquette Girls
Editor(s): Alys Arden
Edition: Paperback, 565 pages
Publisher: Skyscape (imprint of Amazon Publishing)
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Source: Won through Goodreads Giveaways
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository

The Summary

Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.
My Opinion

I had never heard of this book before I won it from Goodreads.  The premise sounded interesting, so I figured why not?  Not a bad decision because The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden was excellent.  Set after the desolation from Katrina (though the hurricane is never named), Arden pays homage to the macabre history of the city, and the resilence of the people of love New Orleans.

The story follows two girls living centuries apart, Adele and her ancestor Adeline, both destined to save their loved ones from a supernatural threat: vampires.  Yes, this book does have vampires in it, but that falls in line with the history of New Orleans.  As the title of the book suggests, young brides sent from France, came to the new world with nothing but their "hope chests", a box that resembled a coffin.  Hence the name Casquette, or Casket, Girls.  Legend has it that vampires stowed away in these boxes to come to New Orleans and started feeding on the people.  This is the lore that Arden works with, changing some of the origins for her own purposes, but still keeping her vampires close to the traditional vampires of old (no sparkling here).

Vampires aren't the only supernatural element either.  Arden also incorporates New Orleans long history with magic, both voodoo and witchcraft.  These are the two forces working against each other, with both Adele and Adeline learning what they are capable for through trial and tribulation.  Both girls have a journey of survival and rebuilding, one trying to build her home back from destruction and another trying to build a new home in a completely new place.  

To tell both girls stories, Arden uses alternating chapters, which I thought was done very well.  I was never confused about who's point of view I was reading from, which can sometimes happen when their's alternating narrators.  Her prose was beautiful, the description of New Orleans obviously lovingly crafted, but the pace was slow, so don't expect a fast resolution.  This books comes in at a whopping 565 pages, and most of that is setting up the last quarter of the book.  I personally don't mind a slow build when the pay off is good, so if this bothers you keep that in mind.

The each character was much more complex than at first glance, and I loved them all...well the mortal characters.  I did not like any of the vampires, which is good because honestly why should I like murderers (think about it, they drain people of their blood; that is NOT sexy)?  But man, of course there is a romance, which I don't think will ever be written out of supernatural books nowadays.  So while I really liked the characters and the plot, the romance aspect annoyed me.

I got really into this book right away: Adele is a great leading lady, the plot is engrossing and has many twists and turns, the setting paints a picture of New Orleans both pre- and post-hurricane, and I love the lore within it.  It was slow, but with all the twists it still kept you on your toes.  I'm trying not to reveal too much because I think it's really important for you to discover everything that happens for yourself.  I know this is a big book, but it is very good.  Also fun fact: this is a part of a series, which is another reason why I'm cool with the slowbuild.

If you love the supernatural, if you love New Orleans, if you love kick-butt leading ladies, and if you love the slow build, then you have to check out The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden!

Final Rating

Book Cover: 3/5

Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Endings: 8/10
Overall: 41/50: B-

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