NYMBC's blog

So ok, we're probably pretty biased because the proprieter of A Girl With Books is one of OUR girls... Her name is Connie and she works at our Opera Plaza store in San Francisco. Connie's an avid reader (hello, she works in a bookstore) and now that she's graduated SFSU (CONGRATULATIONS, CONNIE!) she's going to have ever more time to spend on her awesome blog. Below, is the review she wrote of The Mockingbirds by local author (and NYMBC guest) Daisy Whitney.

The Mockingbirds opens with Alex waking up in an unknown person's bed with no memory of the night before. She had sex, but she never remembers consenting. As fragments of the night comes back, Alex realizes that she been raped. What follows is an exceptional debut book about a young girl's stand for justice. Complex and authentic, Whitney weaves a story that's part courtroom drama and part emotional journey as Alex struggles to find her self and her voice in the aftermath of her rape.

I really love this book. It was one of my favorite debut novels of 2010. The characters and plot were so skillfully crafted that this is an impressive story that I would advocate every teen and their parent read this book. Alex's characterization felt very spot-on and realistic as she struggles with her feelings of doubt, guilt, shame, etc. as she attempts to feel 'normal' again. Her vulnerability and strength as she confronts her demons and her rapist definitely got me rooting for her. I also enjoyed the strong secondary female characters Whitney writes. Maia, Amy, T.S., etc. were all incredible characters as they help support Alex through her healing process. My internal feminist was definitely jumping up and down as these characters appeared on the page. Additionally, Whitney does not fall into the trap of characterizing all the boys as one-dimensional stereotypes. There were the jerks (Carter), but she also has Jones and Martin, boys who have a strong moral code and different ideas on how to approach justice.

One major aspect that I notice in many reviews is the commentary that Carter did not get a fitting enough punishment for his crime. That date rape is something that need to be address by the public legal system and that he should be given time in prison, etc.. I don't disagree with that statement. Rape is a serious issue and I completely agree that Carter should be given a harsher sentence, but given the confines of the premise, the punishment the Mockingbirds give for the guilt sentence is as far as their power can go. Because the Mockingbirds is a student-run society, anything harsher is out of their reach. The other comments I notice is about the version of justice that the Mockingbirds use on Carter. I can understand their point, but my counterpoint is that since the Mockingbirds is not a formal court of justice, they have to use other avenues to ensure that the accuse show up for the case and accept their punishment if found guilty. If they did not use ways to compel the accused to show up, how will they try the case or punish someone, the Mockingbirds will be an ineffective group. And it is very checks and balance as attest by Alex when she signed the contract. If Alex was found lying, she'll have to accept punishment.

"Sexual assault is against the standards to which Themis students hold themselves. Sexual assault is sexual contact (not just intercourse) where one of the parties has not given or cannot give active verbal consent, i.e., uttered a clear "yes" to the action. If a person does not say "no" that does not mean he or she said "yes." Silence does not equal consent. Silence could mean fear, confusion, inebriation. The only thing that means yes is yes. A lack of yes is a no."

This quote above is one of the most candid messages I read about rape in a YA book and one of the best messages in this book. Especially today, where society still stigmatize women for not being a virgin or acting morally (getting drunk or high, dressing provactively, etc.). And if they do act unmoral, they are therefore "asking for it." The Mockingbirds empowers women with its strong message that rape isn't simply the act of sexual intercourse and that being drunk or expressing sexuality through clothes or words is not an agreement to sex. That silence does not equal consent. And a lack of yes is a no. This message alone makes The Mockingbirds a must-read for anybody and everybody, but combined with the awesome characters and plot, its not only empowering, but page-turning as well.

Come celebrate this awesome new book with Susane Colasanti herself at our next event! Information here.

Pure brilliance. Meet Maggie at the THIS IS TEEN event June 13th at our Opera Plaza store! And please, bring your puppets.
There is a serious glut of dystopian young adult novels in the market right now, and just about all of them claim to appeal to fans of The Hunger Games. And honestly, most of them don't. Of course it makes sense as marketers to align new titles with the most successful YA of the last few years, whether or not the new book is actually similar in appeal. But now, we finally have a worthy heir to Collins' blockbuster: Divergence, by debut author Veronica Roth.
 
The world of Divergence is fully imagined from page one, and like The Hunger Games, takes place in a post-apocalyptic American landscape. Society in this future is highly stratified into five factions. Each faction is defined by a value that they believe counteracts the cause for the historical catastrophe that created their ravaged landscape. The Amity faction, who blamed aggression, value peace and live their lives accordingly, as farmers and caretakers. The Candor faction, who blamed duplicity, value honesty, even in its bluntest forms. The Abnegation, who blamed selfishness, value selflessness, and as such live ascetically and also command the government. The Dauntless, who blamed cowardice, value bravery and are the soldiers and police of this new world. And lastly, the Erudite, who blamed ignorace, value intellect. However, there is strife between the factions, primarily between the Erudite and the Abnegation; at the onset of the story, the Erudite have been releasing "antagonistic reports" about the Abnegation faction. Our protagonist, Beatrice, is of the Abnegation faction, but when it comes time for her to choose her own path, she finds herself among the Dauntless. What ensues is a fabulously propulsive ride into the dangerous world of the Dauntless.
 
Their lives are violent, harshly competitive and unforgiving; though they are not fighting for food as in The Hunger Games, they are fighting for survival; those who do not pass the tests of the initiatives are banished to be factionless, who live on the outskirts of society, scrounging and barely surviving. What is so awesome about Divergence (and so reminiscent of The Hunger Games, in a not at all derivative way) is that Roth's writing style is clean, clear and simple. She lets the world and the story speak for itself, with few flourishes, which was one of the aspects that made The Hunger Games such an easy sell-- very adept and very reluctant readers alike could be carried away by the narrative. The stakes of this story are high, and implications of this first installment's arc will leave you clamoring for the sequel. A likable point of view character and her realistic relationships give the world a realistic emotional core. Oh, and violence and sexual tension never hurts either.
The Underworld Ball madness NEVER CEASES. The event may be over, but the chatter is still rolling out. Here at Not Your Mother's Book Club we're super lucky to have a network of bloggers who are kind enough to support our events, write them up, and in some cases win our costume contests. Listed here are some of the write ups from the amazing bloggers we call friends. Bookalicious features a video interview with our authors, Ravenous Reader includes reviews of events with other authors as well (jealous she made it to ALL those events!), Eve's Fan Garden helps you find your inner zombie, and Mundie Moms provides links out the wazoo, as well as a very flattering review! Pictured here are Pam of Bookalicious and Nancy of Ravenous Reader in a photo yoinked from the Bookalicious page. Thank you Pam for taking such fabulous pictures at the event with your hyper fancy camera!

Did you do a write up of The Underworld Ball? Send it to us! nymbc@booksinc.net

or tweet it @NYMBC

Our contest winners were each treated to a one-of-a-kind playlist! Below are the full playlists so that you can recreate them yourself. Playlist #1: Wang Dang Doodle-Koko Taylor, Caring is Creepy- The Shins, Rebel Rebel--David Bowie, Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old-- Broken Social Scene, Heartbeats-- Jose Gonzalez, You Know I'm No Good-- Amy Winehouse, Visions of Johanna-- Bob Dylan, Oh My God-- Ida Maria, Land of 1000 Dances-- Wilson Pickett, Young Blood-- The Naked and Famous, The Funeral-- Band of Horses, There is a Light That Never Goes-- The Smiths, Mannish Boy-- Muddy Waters, Howl--Florence + The Machine, Bizarre Love Triangle-- New Order, Brick-- Ben Folds Five Playlist #2: Black Sheep-- Metric (from the amazing Scott Pilgrim soundtrack) Bold as Love-- Jimi Hendrix, Love Will Tear Us Apart-- Joy Division, Stiff Kittens-- Blaqk Audio, Girls & Boys--Blur, Delayed Devotion-- Duffy, Blow it Up-- The Vaccines, No Cars Go-- The Arcade Fire, Sweet Soul Music, Arthur Conley, Everyday is Like Sunday-- Morrissey, Strangelove-- Depeche Mode, Hearts on Fire-- Cut Copy, By Your Side-- Beachwood Sparks, The Harder They Come-- Jimmy Cliff, Black and Blue-- Miike Snow, Set Fire to the Rain-- Adele Playlist #3: Daniel-- Willie Proctor & Geargia Sea Island Singers, On Your Own-- James Yuill, Under My Thumb-- The Rolling Stones, Death-- White Lies, Geraldine-- Glasvegas, Sentimental Heart-- She & Him, Pumped up Kicks-- Foster The People, L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.-- Noah & the Whale, Ring of Fire-- Johnny Cash, You Take My Breath Away-- The Knife, Heartbeat-- Blighters, Armageddon Time-- The Clash, The Ring-- Jamie Lidell, Mystic Eyes-- Them, The Game Has Changed-- Daft Punk, Road To Joy-- Bright Eyes.

 

 

Thank you to Adrienne Ducomb for her excellent musical taste, and extensive musical library.

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who came to the Underworld Ball last night, featuring Holly Black, Cassandra Clare and special surprise guests Malinda Lo and Ted Naifeh! Yesterday morning, we'd sold about 60 some tickets. Ok, we thought, that's pretty good, right? That night we had around 120 (!!!!) guests! After a verrrry satisfying reading, we introduced Ted as our surprise guest, then commenced the Q & A. After that, we had a costume contest for our guests in "full regalia" and we were not left disappointed! The winners received Books Inc. gift certificates, and special underworld playlists. Our Twitter contest winner won a signed copy of Malinda Lo's Huntress, which was then personalized, as we were lucky enough to have Malinda as a guest! Then, we started the CRAZINESS that was the signing line.... which lasted for more than an hour. The ladies + Ted signed away, and after the stacks and stacks receded, we bid them THANK YOU and GOODNIGHT. For all our lovely guests, thank you for coming and for coming dressed like rockstars. As per usual, our fans are the best fans, and last night, you looked AWESOME.

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