YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for April 18, 2009

Guest blog: Jillian Cantor

Hi everyone, today we have Jillian Cantor! She’ll be telling us about how the cover for The September Sisters came about!

I think the most striking feature of The September Sisters’ cover is the pretty blue sapphire heart necklace. But when I was writing the story, when the idea of the necklace first came to me, I wasn’t thinking about a future book cover. I was thinking a little bit about my own childhood, and the necklaces my grandparents had once, a long time ago, given to my sister and me. Unlike the pretty book hearts, our real gift necklaces were something we always thought of as ugly. My sister and I would, occasionally, wear them when we saw our grandparents, as a nice gesture, but otherwise we kept them in their original boxes. I guess it’s not so much that they’re ugly, but that they are what my sister and I always called old-lady necklaces, like something our grandmother might have worn. They are bright, shiny gold, with a funny oversized J-shape charm, with a pearl (our birthstone) in the center. Not the kind of thing we would’ve been caught dead wearing to school!

In The September Sisters, much like in my own life, the sapphire necklace is a gift that both sisters get from their grandmother. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but since it says this in the jacket description, I’ll mention it – in the book, the pretty sapphire necklace is the only clue the police find in Becky’s disappearance. The only material object left behind. And thus (without saying too much) I’ll just say that the necklace takes on so much meaning over the course of the book, that it seems only fitting for it to be on the cover.

In fact, as soon as my editor asked me what ideas I had for the cover, the first thing that came to mind was that necklace. It’s funny the way tiny objects can represent so much more. In books and in life. In my own life now, many, many years after my grandparents gave me that necklace – my grandfather is dead, and my grandmother barely has any memory left. Sometimes I take out the necklace, and I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness to have it. Because it is the only solid piece of them I have, the only material object left to remember them by.

Thanks for sharing on how the cover came out. =] The September Sisters is out now in Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Visit Jillian on her blog.

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Project Sweet Life by Brent Hartinger

For most kids, fifteen is the year of the optional summer job: Sure, you can get a job if you really want one, but it isn’t required or anything. Too bad Dave’s dad doesn’t agree! Instead of enjoying long days of biking, swimming, and sitting around, Dave and his two best friends are being forced by their fathers into a summer of hard labor.

The friends have something else in mind, though: Not only will they not work over the summer, but they’re determined to trick everyone into believing they really do have jobs. So what if the lifeguard doesn’t have a tan or the fast-food worker isn’t bringing home buckets of free chicken? There’s only one problem: Dave’s dad wants evidence that his son is actually bringing in money. And that means Dave, Curtis, and Victor will have to get some . . . without breaking the law and without doing any work!

Project Sweet Life is designed for the funny and lazy bone in all of us—a true comedy of errors (without any effort!) from seasoned storyteller Brent Hartinger.

I really really loved this book. At first, it seemed like a guy book because of the cover. But you know what they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover! I’m so glad I picked up this book. I thought I knew what would happen next, the boys would end up spending all summer trying to find ways not to work and would not have any fun. I was kind of right and wrong too, the boys did have fun! But what I did not expect was for the boys to be stakingout, find themselves trying to solve bank robberies, walking through tunnels and solving a mystery. It was so much fun reading the book. I recommend reading this book on a Saturday morning because once you read, you can’t stop until you reach the end! The story was very well written, you never know what to expect next. Did I mention that this book is extremely funny too? Everyone should read Project Sweet Life. If you loved Paper Towns by John Green, I’m sure you will love this book too.

Order Project Sweet Life now at Barnes & Noble.