Monday, March 30, 2009


Contest Week!

Everybody who makes a comment this week (Mon, Tues, Wed, or Fri) gets entered into a drawing. Next Monday - through a very technical process involving algorithms, biogenetics, and my hairless cat - we will pick a name out of a hat.

The winner will receive an autographed copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's multi-award winning book Speak.

Now, let me just say the point of this is to
get more comments. I know my blog readers tend to be a shy, self-sacrificing bunch, who don't think they deserve a signed copy of Speak, because those are just the sort of people I attract. But you would really be doing me a favor.


Yes. I am a lurker. Thank you for asking.

So, all of my fellow lurkers, this is a great opportunity to de-lurk. I want to hear from you too.

The other day, I totally de-lurked on a very popular blog, and afterward, I was basking in the warm fuzzies all week. Not only that, I received an email, from a British banker, telling me I had randomly been selected to receive one meeeeeelion pounds. We're still working out the transfer process, but how's that for good Karma?

All because I de-lurked.


For those of you who worry about what to say in a comment, I will end each post with a question, which you may or may not choose to answer.


Actually, that's all I've got.

No, wait, my sister writer Bree is hosting a contest as well. So if you are into blog reading purely for the money, check out her blog.


You may have noticed last week's Tuesday Dork Side was replaced with a very interesting conversation about bladders. The reason for the dork silence is Battlestar Galactica ended, for good, and I'm just not quite ready to talk dork. (But if you think about it, is there anything about a conversation on bladders that isn't dorky?)


In Young Adult literature, what do you find offensive? Is there something (a word, an act, a theme) that has made you stop reading at that point? Now, I don't necessarily want specific books or authors named. This isn't a forum for bashing. But I want to know, can you remember a time when you stopped reading a book on purpose? What made you stop?

And while you are pondering this, enjoy a clip from Jim Gaffigan. Sam and I watched his comedy special last night, and laughed our butts off. As for the contest, it begins in 3..... 2..... 1...... now.


  1. All I can say is that I'm into this blogging thing for the money! Don't give me any special treatment just because I'm related to you...I just want to win...anything! Books, money, notoriety, 15 seconds of fame...please pick me! As for the question, yes I will answer. Things that offend me in YA novels is when the female character is weak, shows no backbone, can't think for herself. It does nothing for the female race. Go Starbuck!

  2. I will say loud and proud that I quit reading Ender's Game because it was just plain stupid. How's that? Actually, being a rebel - I have never stopped reading a YA book because it offended me (that is almost impossible). HOWEVER, in considering having my own children read things...I cringe a little when they talk about recreational drug use for some reason. The sex, alcohol and abuse I can understand and deal with to a point and I can understand the presence of drugs in the book itself - I just struggle when the main character participates.

  3. Cam- You've got some guts girl! Ender's Game is revered in the Dork-o-sphere. Way to take a stand.

    So, main character recreational drug use. Good comment.

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  5. the word "porn" is offensive.
    oh wait, you have that in your book, don't you?

    KIDDING! can i kid?

    in all honesty, i do not love graphic violence, graphic sexual references and same for graphic drug references. there is my 2 cents.

  6. I'll settle for more readers on my blog as a prize! I've never actually been offended by anything in any book I've read YA or otherwise. BUT... I probably would not recommend a book to a YA if it had recreational drug use, which would be different than a character trying to get help, or getting unrequested help, for the problem. Also if there's any sort of description of the sex they might have, that would not be cool. Alluding to and discussion of the after effects is ok, but we don't need the graphic details!

    And don't read The Kite Runner in your church book group. Someone will be offended by the f-bomb that was so briefly used that you forgot about it when you suggested reading the book and will request that you no longer lead the book group. Not that that's happened to me. Noooo....

  7. Dorien- no kidding allowed. I Jest!

    And just to clarify to everyone out there, my book has the WORD "porn" in it, not ACTUAL porn.

    So, Graphic violence and graphic sexual references.

    What about non-graphic sexual references? If the characters "exit the stage" so to speak, and you know what they're going to do? But there aren't details?

    Anyone have thoughts on that? I'm just curious.

  8. Sal- I hate it when people take it out on me after I recommend a book! Besides, I have recommended Kite Runner several times, and when I think of potentially offensive scenes in it, the f-word is not what immediately comes to mind.

    So, recreational drug use, without consequences or efforts to quit, can be offensive to you. And details of sexual encounters, not necessarily the encounters themselves. That kind of answers my above question. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Very funny clip from Jim Gaffigan, I also have lost the remote during a television marathon. I actually had to get up, shake out my blankets and pull off all the couch pillows. It was very inconvenient!

    I'm very excited at the chance to win the autographed copy of SPEAK.

    I enjoy young adult lit. But to answer your question of the day I don't appreciate Young Adult books that preach. I also don't think they should be "How to" books with anything regarding sex and drugs, and I am suspicious when the main character's character seems too inconsistent. I hope I win!

  10. brodi...i like the "exit the stage" kind of suggestions in books...leaves it up to the readers imagination. (kind of jane austen-esque....she always hints and never "tells")

    (yup, i have no life today...2 sick kids and too much computer time!)

    does this get me entered TWICE?? LOL

  11. Hi Brodi. I'm one of Bree's friends, and I read your blog every day. You crack me up. I can't wait to read your book.

    I tend to prefer my YA squeaky clean, but I'm also pretty OCD when it comes to reading and it's hard to get me to put a book down if I love the characters, the story, the writing, and the voice. I have stopped a book I was enjoying up until there was a graphic sex scene in them middle of the book. I've stopped for excessive swearing. I didn't get more than a page into one popular series because it looked like there was going to be more sex, drugs, and swearing than I could handle. If I read a book by an author that doesn't go quite far enough to make me stop reading, but that I still find offensive, maybe for swearing or for dealing with sex in a way that is really contrary to my beliefs, I usually won't read more books by that author. The more I read really beautiful, well written books where the authors are really honest about life, the more I can get over things that make me uncomfortable, as long as I don't feel like they are trying to teach kids something that feels really offensive to me.

  12. What Brodi? No "actual" porn in your book, don't expect me to read it then, lol!

    I think YA authors have a responsibility to be cautious when it comes to things like graphic sex, drugs, and alcohol. I also think t.v. shows geared toward younger audiences should be careful when it comes to these subjects. When our youth see and read these things over and over again, they start to see them as the "norm", when in reality they aren't. Adults can usually handle these subjects and separate them from reality. Teenagers are still learning and exploring, which makes them much more likely to be influenced in their decisions. Although it would be impossible to sensor everything that our children hear and see, I think it is wise to do our best to keep as many bad influences away from them as possible. As a parent I talk to my children often about these subjects. I want to make sure that they have the correct information. I feel that if I talk openly with them, they will be more likely to come to me if they are ever struggling with these issues.

    Wow, did I just write a book or what?!

  13. I recently returned a book to the library which was a YA novel (Nick & Nora's Infinite Play List) due to excessive "f-bombs" being on almost every page. can you get into a book when you are still recovering from such poor language choices!
    I have read "Speak" and loved that book. How cool that you were able to meet the author! Hoping you are doing great!

  14. Ok, here's something that hasn't been mentioned...does that get me double entry points? In a book I've read a group of the main characters participated in frequent cutting of themselves for a kind of mental clarity thing. This is a book in a well know series and it talks about cutting A LOT. Eventually they get past it, but I think that's an irresponsible message for a YA author to send. Cutting is bad. It should not be glorified.

  15. Emily- I like the "no preachy" comment.

    Dorien- Yes.

    Kim- So, whatever is there has to be real and honest. I like that. Can you email me and tell me the series you quit? I'm curious!

    Wendy- I like your comment- that making it seem like "the norm" can be dangerous for malleable teens. Thanks!

    Monae- Yeah, the f-bomb can quickly become excessive, imo.

    Karin- Glorifying cutting. Good point. Which brings up another topic, that Laurie Halse Anderson was concerned about with her new book Wintergirls: Is there a concern that dealing with issues like cutting, anorexia, etc. can, in actuality trigger these behaviors?

    Thanks for everyone's input!

  16. I don't think I have ever not finished a book in my life but I am just a teenager so I have a lot more books to read. I do get a little uncomfortable when there is an excessive amount of swearing though.

  17. Eliza- thanks for the input. And you are never "just" a teenager. You are the target audience. It's all about you!

  18. Brodi - You are so funny! I love ya! And I love Laurie Halse Anderson...what an awesome prize!

  19. Although I know we're not talking geek here; I have to say that Mike and I were so content with ending of BSG. We both looked at each other and said "That was really good." Yet, on Fri. I felt a little sad and empty knowing that there was nothing to look forward to for Saturday. Ever. Again.
    As far as offending, I am pretty easy going; but in 6th grade I started an un-named book and gave it up when it became uncomfortably centered around the conflict of whether or not one had breasts. Yuck. It is an award winning book, I am sure it is good. Yet I am still a little grossed out (in a 6th grade way) when I think about it. ;)

  20. Jocelyn- thanks for the comment!

    Keersten- I know. BSG was missed. As for the sixth grade book, I think I remember which one you're talking about! It's interesting how we interpret things as sixth graders, isn't it? I would have been uncomfortable as well.

  21. Mom said...
    I just realized I'm a closet lurker. Does that also mean I could be a cyber-stalker? And following that line of reasoning...I have had sudden urges to cross-dress. Could it be that I'm morphing into an amalgam of socially unacceptable dysfunctional arythmias? Oh, the shame! But the good news is that I'm on #3 of the 12-step lurker recovery program. So, you want to know what I find unattractive about YA novels? Dangling participles! That's it. I am on a personal crusade to rid the world of participle abuse. It is a growing problem, due, no doubt to cosmic internet pollution that will lead to the complete and utter destruction of the social order as we know it. Ah, I feel better already with my therapeutic de-lurking. And the future looks bright. Now...Pick me! By the way, I love your blog!

  22. Ummm... Thanks complete stranger. (A.K.A. "Mom") I'll pass along your loathing of dangling participles.

  23. I love the book Speak, seriously one of my favorites...
    As far as things that offend me... I would have to agree that graphic depictions of sex and violence make me uncomfortable. And I also agree with Erin, whimpy, whiney, witless female characters really irritate me.

  24. Too many bad swears make me put a book down. It's jarring to me if it doesn't seem to have a point other than labeling itself as "edgy." It kind of depresses me to read about teens doing all the stuff that has been mentioned, drugs and sex, without, in my opinion, adding to the plot in any meaningful way. I know that for some teens, that's a way of life and the author is only trying to write truthfully according to their world view, but that lifestyle is pretty foreign to me so edgy books usually don't resonate with me.

    That said, I love The Body of Christopher Creed, and the many bad words seemed to fit and weren't distracting or offensive to me. Maybe my judgments about what's too much swearing and what isn't are totally skewed by if I'm caught up in the plot.

    As long as I'm listening to myself talk, let me just say I can't seem to finish a book lately. If I'm bored or if someone says she didn't like the ending, or if I think the character is lame, I drop it like a hot rock before I get even halfway through. I used to feel obligated to finish any book I started, but I don't have enough time to read something so-so anymore. I'm offended when an author would dare waste my precious time when I could be writing a book soooo much better than his! lol. I jest too. Sort of.

  25. Nicole- I agree!

    Kim- lol! I hate it too when authors waste my time by producing boring books.

  26. What a fun giveaway!

    You know I think I've only ever considered not finishing a book once (at least that I can remember anyway). I had seen the book on several peoples book lists (on shelfari so I didnt really know these people) so I read the little blurb about it and decided to read it. It turned out to be a very uncomfortable book about sex abuse (I totally didnt see that coming!) and just wasn't something I was interested in reading at the time. I think mostly it was because there was no mention of the heavy issue anywhere --maybe I was perturbed I wasn't warned ahead of time. However I did finish the book and at the end I could completely say with all confidence--it was really stupid. (And not just because of that issue. It was just a dumb story.) Last year I read 106 books and that was the only one I disliked.

  27. In addition to the graphic descriptions about violence and sex, numerous instances of foul language bother me in young adult literature. I can understand one word or two, but to have it used frequently does not seem appropriate. Young adult literature should be in some ways a tool for the youth to mature and know what is acceptable and unacceptable. Like learning to add, subtract, multiply and divide before being given the calculator. Foul language is not always appropriate (in fact in business and most social situations it is extremely inappropriate) and should not be glamorized in anyway in Y.A. literature.

    Eeek - maybe this is why I try to just lurk...I can get myself into ranting. Sorry - I'll stop here!