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Not Your Mother's Book Club Blog

Books Inc., the West’s oldest independent bookstore, started Not Your Mother’s Book Club with one big idea: to bring the best writers in the world to the best readers in the world. And we're not REALLY a club. That's just our name, and really, what's in a name? We're actually just an inclusive bunch of PASSIONATE readers who get to hang out with the coolest authors on the scene!
We throw parties, eat snacks and read, read, read, read, read...
 We also have a lot of fun ... and we invite you to join us.  
Yay books!

NYMBC's blog

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Ah, traveling. You are always absolutely at the right age for it. But let's face it -- sometimes, you go traveling and you're not entirely sure if you're "good" at it. Enter sheltered Jewish-American, introverted good girl Allyson, traveling Europe with a group of other high school seniors. It should be an excellent time for an 18-year-old girl about to embark upon her college years when she gets back home. But Allyson isn't actually having fun. She's doing her best to make everything "worth it", but it's difficult when it feels like she's on this trip to keep her parents happy.

Everything changes when she goes to an underground performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in London, where she meets the handsome Willem, and sparks fly. Taking a huge leap of faith, Allyson becomes "Lulu" and does things she'd never do as Allyson -- including going off to Paris with Willem for one day. In what becomes the most perfect day of her life, everything works out for best...except for the part where she wakes up the next morning and Willem is gone, leaving her alone in Paris. She spends the next year feeling listless, and her once-excellent grades take the hit. Eventually, she finds that to mend the hole in her heart, she must return to Paris to break free of the shackles of her scripted life. She goes back looking for Willem, but in the end, as cheesy as it is, she finds herself. A surprisingly excellent bildungsroman showing a different type of growth that many of the quiet young adults could be afraid of, this is something I'd recommend to those traveling or studying abroad and are unsure if they're doing the right thing. (John Green himself recommended this, so if you don't believe me, believe him!)
 
To be followed by Just One Year, detailing Willem's events after he and Allyson are separated. And I am so excited that I want to cry.

--Reviewed by Robbin of Compass Books in SFO Terminal 2.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick-

A stranger comes to a remote island to try and discover the truth about a mysterious flower that may be keeping the world's rich young. Instead, he finds himself regressing through the history of the island; stories and people somehow cropping up time and time again. With shades of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, to Oscar Wilde's more melancholy fairy stories, to Nordic sagas, this book is beautifully sparce. A great quick read! Ages 14+
--reviewed by Steven of Books Inc. Palo Alto

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Vera Dietz lost her best friend Charlie-- so why is he appearing to her at all the wrong times? What ensues is a beautiful tale of loss and redemption. While there are touches of romance, and plenty of school drama to go around, the real gem of this narrative was held for me in the burgeoning relationship between Vera and her emotionally distant, yet caring father.

I loved ASK THE PASSENGERS by King, and so I had to read more of her work. And I'm so glad I did. King has nailed the magical realism genre in way that is so authentically teen that it hurts my mind. In a good way. Told with King's signature sense of humor, depth, intelligence and honesty, this novel has affirmed my goal of reading EVERY BOOK A.S. King has ever written. And I hope you do, too. (ages 13+)

--Reviewed by Maggie, Books Inc. Children's Department Director

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Anna grew up with the story that when she came along, her mom wasn't alone anyone. She was her mom's world, her "five-pointed star", but that wasn't enough for her mom. She wasn't enough. Her mom starts dating and along come a string of boyfriends and husbands that flutter in and out of Anna's life. Soon, it's just her alone in the empty house. To fill the loneliness, Anna turns to boys thinking that if she gives boys what they want, they can give her what she needs. Companionship. Company. Affection. This 240 page book is not light, contrary to looks. Sexuality, rape, abortion are some of the issues that show up in the story. However, this book never dissolves into an "issues" book - not once while I was reading the book felt like I was being bashed over the head with a point. Rather, the entire focus of the story is Anna. It's her story. And Anna....I felt for her so much. I just wanted to spirited her away or at least give her a million hugs of affection. The things that she endured and the lack of positive, loving adult presence in her life breaks my heart. But the thing that drives home Anna's story is Scheidt's prose. It's frank, sparse and lyrical. She doesn't hold back in her words, but she's not overly descriptive either. The words are just so. Raw. honest and wonderfully written. --reviewed by Connie of Books Inc. Opera Plaza

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