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


My 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Photos

This past weekend, I had the amazing privilege of attending the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, FL, along with my fellow Baby Librarian and Book Blogger, Erin (Check her out at her blog: Uniquely Geeky Girl)

So I had a TON of fun!  Being with librarians, who love books so much, is always a blast. Also, everyone is so polite and nice and organized (there was many a time when people just started forming lines because that's what you do, LOL).

And while I went to a few panels, I haunted that Exhibit Hall, met some awesome authors, schmoozed some publishers, and collected all the books!  Like...ALL the books people.

I captured some highlights in the snapshots below, but I was such a bad documenter because I didn't capture half of what I did!  But please enjoy what I have, and if you ever have a chance to go to ALA, take advantage!  It is so much fun!!!!!

The entrance up to the Exhibit Hall, my home away from home for four days!

I am all ready to defeat Day 1!  
Tried to keep it casual, but still nice because, boy, was it hot out!

Yes, that is my haul from Friday, Day 1.
Now the Exhibit Hall was only open from 5:30PM to 7:00PM, and just for full weekend attendees.
I got 34 books in a hour and a half!  CRAZY!

Day 2 here I come!!!!!
So excited to experience more of everything on Saturday!

Waiting for the Jay Asher signing!  We all received an ARC of his latest book, What Light.
Super excited to read that one!

ALA had gender neutral bathrooms.  
To achieve this, they put a curtain around the urinals to offer privacy.
While not a perfect fix, I've always though urinals needed more privacy anyway!

I got to meet Jesse Andrews!  
Sadly, I left my physical copy of The Haters in my hotel room, but he was signing book plates instead!
I loved Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, and I can't wait to dive into The Haters!

Day 2 Haul!!!  That's 55 books....I got a lot of books!

Erin and I are all ready for Day 3!
We were waiting for the YALSA YA Author Coffee Klatch to start!

Speaking of the event, these are the authors we got to meet!
In order from top down, left to right: Jonathan Friesen, Laurie Halse Anderson (QUEEN), Jenny Han, Peter Brown Hoffmeister, Laura Ruby, Jordan Sonnenblick, Tim Federle, Morgan Matson, and Jonathan Auxier (not pictured: Terry Farish and C.M. Surrisi).

Look at that AMAZING tattoo, Laura Ruby got to commemorate Bone Gap!
If you haven't read that book yet, you really need to.  It is the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature winner.

So this picture has a story to it: "When Elizabeth was 14 yrs old, she was recommended a book from the Children's Librarian at Hudson Library. This book was titled Speak

Elizabeth scoffed at the recommendation because she liked to read adult books, none of that "kid" stuff. But the librarian was insistent, "You will find yourself in this book." (Elizabeth had been having a hard time and through the weeks of visits over the summer, the librarian had come to know about it). Elizabeth took the book, and started reading it that night. 

She finished it in one sitting. 

That book was written by the woman pictured here: Laurie Halse Anderson. She is the reason I love books and believe in books and treasure books the way I do. Speak was given to me at a time when I needed it (this also influenced me immensely--thank you Ms. Mary!!). 

Speak changed my life, and Laurie has continued to change my life with each book she writes. Then I actually got to meet her, and it was amazing. 

I got to meet my hero, and I cried. I cried for that young Elizabeth who was kind of lost and I cried for the help a simple book gave me and I cried because I don't know where I would be now if that didn't happen. 

So thank you, thank you, thank you Laurie for all the books you write; I'm sure I'm not the only one who's life you've changed."

Then of course, she actually commented when I posted to Instagram!!

Uh, Day 3's haul...that's 100 books.  
So if you're counting, I'm currently at 189.....
I feel both extremely repulsed and extremely elated.  It is weird.

This is how I started Day 4. So. Very. Tired.
I don't even have a photo from my haul, but I believe it was closer to what Friday's was.
I haven't counted the total yet...I'm still tired.

So that was my first ever ALA experience.  It was a freaking blast, and one trip I will treasure forever!  Authors/librarians/book bloggers/readers are such awesome, amazing, generous people (at least in my experience), and being able to be surrounded by those people for four days was just too good!


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)

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