TGIF (18)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Banned Books:

How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books?

Before I really begin I must ask, are you guys ready to see Katelyn get feisty? Nothing (aside from child/animal neglect/abuse) gets me more fired up than the banning of books. I could rant and rave for HOURS about the banning of books in school systems. The only conclusion I have come to is that the sad people who seek out books to be banned must have been severely deprived as a child or had books thrown at them (literally) as a punishment of some sort and therefore have bibliophobia (the phobia of books. This is legit, look it up). There is no excuse for forcing certain books out of school systems because you see them as “unfit.” Yes, there should be certain age limits for specific books. Obviously, I will not allow my 13-year-old sister to read a highly descriptive romance novel, but when the time is right I will slowly introduce her to tougher and more pressing issues through books.

So, to answer the first question, I feel very strongly that censorship over the freedom to read is going against our rights as American citizens. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IT IS UP TO THE PARENT AND THE PARENT ALONE to decide what their child can and cannot read. Our government and school systems should not be able to take the right to read whatever we want whenever we want away from us. Every child is different and what books they can handle all depends on their emotional and maturity level. A single person trying to ban a specific book fails to see just how many kids can handle and yes even benefit from that particular book. Books have the ability to touch and reach many people in a way like no other. For many people, they cling to books like a lifeline so if you are taking the books out of school systems because of their content, you could be depriving someone of a great resource.

To move on to the second part of the question, no education systems do not need to be stricter on what books we are exposed to. In fact, I personally think they need to step back and allow kids to choose for themselves. Throughout school we are always told, you can do whatever you want, be whoever you want, but many schools fail to give us the freedom that is required to discover who we really are. Books allow us to explore a different side of ourselves. Books touch dark demons crawling in our subconscious, they allow us to see our deepest fantasies; they even teach us about whom we may want to be one day. It is my strong belief that books can affect us more than anything else out there so the fact that people are trying to limit what we can read and discover for ourselves is disheartening. Clearly these people have never watched Footloose! I mean come on, what happens when they try to censor those kids? They try to closely moderate what they can and cannot do and what just happens to be the result of that? Madness, I tell you, madness!

Okay, that is enough babble for one day. I hope the point I was trying to make came across clearly enough for all of you. Let me know your opinion (if it’s different than mine, don’t worry! Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs…) and leave a link to your TGIF post in the comments section!

“See, this is our time to dance (well in the case of all of us book nerds “read”). It is our way of celebrating life.” Footloose, 1984.

Really, this Footloose clip has absolutely nothing to do with the point I was trying to make but I gotta say, I love small moments of  epic randomness!

This Week On Katelyn’s Blog (9/23-9/30):

TGIF (17)

Tune In Tuesday (27)

A Scary Scene In A Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone

Book Review: A Scary Scene In A Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone

Title: A Scary Scene In A Scary Movie

Author: Matt Blackstone

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Pages: 256 Hardcover

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he’s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/or die a slow and painful death like someone in a scary scene in scary movie. Rene’s new and only friend tutors him in the art of playing it cool, but that’s not as easy as Gio makes it sound. (Summary courtesy of Goodreads.com)

I love a unique book, which is no mystery. A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie is about as unique as it can get so it may or may not come as a shock to you that I thoroughly enjoyed it. While a lot of what happened in this book caused me to laugh, a lot of it broke my heart because I know there are real people, kids AND adults, who deal with OCD on a daily basis.

The main character Rene’s whole life is consumed by his OCD tendencies. Every choice he makes, every move, every thought is controlled by this mental illness. A lot of people say they have OCD, heck I even say I have OCD, but the reality is that very few people have it to this degree. The book became a bit tedious to read at times because it’s Rene’s train of thought throughout the whole thing but I must say the book gains major effective points that way. Being able to understand what he is thinking and feeling at all times really allowed me as a reader to see inside the brain of someone dealing with OCD. Getting to know Rene while at times could be difficult, in the end it pulled off. He was a character I could really feel for and I got excited to see small improvements in his daily life. Gaining a friend, speaking what was really on his mind, spending the night in the school, even a trip to New York may seem normal to all of us but for him it was a HUGE step and I am so glad I got to witness it.

Rene tries hard to break away from always feeling scared and out of control and one person who really helps him out is his new friend named Gio. Gio was a character you could easily love. His humor and easy-going personality was a breath of fresh air in this book. Rene, not having many friends before, is awkward and strange when it comes to his relationship with Gio and I totally loved it. I would be so sad after reading an embarrassing moment that Rene went through because of his OCD and then something humorous would happen with Gio and I’d start to feel a bit better. Gio teaches Rene a lot about the person he wants to become, how to steal umbrellas and most importantly how to be a good friend.

Even though the characters where great in this story, I must say Matt Blackstone’s wonderful and true-to-life description of OCD really stole the show. I wasn’t expecting to learn so much while reading this book but I certainly did. As I stated earlier, I have more than on one occasion mentioned that I have OCD (I even bring it up in my About Me page!) but after reading this, I realize my case is nowhere near as serious as Rene’s. I just wanted to cry when I read about all the torturous, agonizing thoughts that go through his head. His mind never shuts off. EVER. It is constantly running, worrying about something small and senseless. He is always stressed about what others are thinking, what time it is, how his hand smells, and it sometimes gets so bad he will even start puking. I just can’t imagine it being that bad. Every small decision from what I have for breakfast, to what time I take a step being controlled. This book was so eye-opening to a real-life issue that has seldom been touched on in YA books. I put this real, honest account of a young boy’s struggle with OCD right up there with It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Dirty Little Secrets!

Tune In Tuesday (27)

Tune In Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. That being said, feel free to leave a link to your Tune-In Tuesday post!

This week I am feeling a little bit like a rock star. I think this is because I pulled my awesome, leather, rock-girl-status, boots out of the depths of my closet. When I think of the best of the ladies who can rock it out, it is hard not to think of the two geniuses behind The Veronicas. They don’t have ear-bleed-enducing music but they are still heard without a problem. They have such a cool, unique style. Plus, do you know how hard it is to find an awesome girl in a rock band let alone two? Yeah, it is freaking difficult! These ladies never fail to produce a song I can sing and dance to (in my rock star boots). Girl Power For The Win!

TGIF (17)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Reading Challenges:

Did you sign up for any this year? How has your progression been?

My answer to this week’s question will thoroughly embarrass me. I can’t even believe I’m actually going to share with you guys just how much I sucked it up MAJORLY on reading challenges this year. I kid you not, it is going to be quite difficult for someone to do worse than me so here it goes…

The 2011 Debut Author Challenge

I started book blogging in August of 2010. That means that when the new year rolled around, I quickly signed up for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. I had no grasp on how much time would be needed to read all the books I chose nor did I equate how much it would cost to buy all those new books. Out of the SIXTY-SEVEN books I chose as part of the DAC, I have read only 7 of them. You can’t get much more pathetic than that. However, I do own 11 DAC books that still need to be read. If I can get those read before the end of the year, that will make a grand total of 18 books read for the challenge, which surpasses the challenge goal by 6. I am thinking that is totally doable…I hope!

The 2011 Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge

I was a bit more sensible for this challenge! I chose to be a level 2 for this challenge which means I would read at least 10 Y.A. Historical Fiction Novels. So far this year I have read 3 of them. Yeah….that still sucks BUT I am working hard to make it through this challenge because I find myself loving nearly every single historical book out there!

The 2011 A-Z Challenge

For this challenge I used books that were already on my lists for other challenges or books that I already own. You know how the saying goes, kill two birds with one stone. But since I have not done so hot with my other challenges, that means I have also done not so hot with this challenge. I have only read 5 of the required 26 books. Uh-oh…

The Awards Winning Challenge

Out of the 12 books I said I would read and review, I read three and only reviewed one. I did, however, gain a lot from this challenge, that would be a lot of award-winning books were brought to my attention. I have learned to not instantly write off a book because of its status as an award-winning book. Jellicoe Road, a book I simply adore, was from this list!!!

That is it for the challenges I started this year. I now know to be a bit smarter when signing up for challenges. Keeping a balance between review books, books for fun, and challenge books is very important so next year I will most definitely be participating in challenges, just maybe not such high expectations!

This Week On Katelyn’s Blog (9/16-9/23):

TGIF (16)

In My Mailbox (24)

My 200th Blog Post…EVER! + A Giveaway!

Tune In Tuesday (26)

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Book Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Title: Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1)

Author: Megan McCafferty

Publisher: Three Rivers Press

Pages: 280 paperback

My Rating: 5/5 stars

“My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment–from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.

I am pretty sure every blogger knows how awesome Ginger at GReads! is but I would like to say it just one more time…She. Is. Awesome. Any person who can continuously recommend one great book after another, is a total rock star in my eyes. Ginger first mentioned this book to me through either Twitter or by leaving a comment on my blog (I forgot which one!) simply stating “Have you checked out my review for the Jessica Darling series yet?” I quickly decided that I MUST check out her reviews and see what these books are all about. I was instantly in love. I loved the characters, the humor, the romance, the Marcus (yes, the Marcus!) and this was before I even set eyes on the actual book! I’ve seen bloggers gush about books before but never quite like that. Then the 10 year anniversary for this book came out and I saw nothing but Megan McCafferty this and Jessica Darling that so finding this book at Border’s closing sale was like fate. I stayed up well until the wee hours of the morning to read it and then quickly ordered the rest of the series.

This girl, Jessica Darling, is every teenager. She has a personality that everyone can relate to, and I do mean everyone. A mom who doesn’t understand her, we’ve all had times where we think “Oh my god. Could my parents be anymore lame? They don’t understand me at all.” A dad who pushes our limits because he thinks that’s the only connection we have (especially when it comes to running, my dad was certainly at every track and cross country meet pushing me to run harder and harder). A best friend who understands her more than anything, well we all have at least one of those (you have heard me mention my best friend Kati, right? Oh, you haven’t? Well, let me explain, she is made of awesomesauce.). Jessica may be way smarter than the average girl, or have a best friend that lives thousands of miles away, but the important thing is that Megan McCafferty created a character we could all understand, sympathize with, and enjoy like no other.

Jessica’s not-so-darling personality kept me laughing throughout the whole entire book! Since this book is written in journal entry form, she holds nothing back and that is exactly why I adore her to pieces. From the moments she was sad and depressed about Hope being gone (I totally don’t blame her. I would be just as depressed if my best friend moved away!), to the endless complaining that comes after hanging out with the Clueless Crew all day (a bunch of snobs who think they are the center of the universe, no thank you!) Jessica kept her cynicism live and well. Her smirks, her sarcastic comments that are lost on nearly everyone, and the way she looks at her glass half empty in only a way a teenage girl going through a tough time can pull off, made this book so believably funny. She may not sound like the most happy-go-lucky person out there but I know I certainly had my “I hate the world and everyone on it” days as a 16-year-old. Jessica’s spunk kept me on my toes as a reader. Just when I thought I had her all figured she would go for a midnight run or start talking about her missing period. Gosh, there is just so much to love about her!

Jessica is not always hating on the Clueless Crew or coming up with one-liners that half of the school population doesn’t understand, she also has some sweet, touching, or even uncomfortable moments that made her all the more real. The pain she felt after Hope moved away was evident. Instead of Megan having a best friend move away and just forget about her for the rest of the book, she brought her up quite frequently, enough to the point that I felt like I knew Hope almost as much as all the other characters. Also, when Jessica’s older sister begins to isolate the family, Jessica steps in (a bit unwillingly) to help cheer up her mom. I thought it was super important that Megan included this. Jessica and her mom may have not seen eye to eye but she still made an attempt to show appreciation towards her mom.

Alright, I have made it far enough in the review to where I can finally start gushing. The final big paragraph can be dedicated to the one and only Marcus Flutie. Marcus, my darling Marcus. THANK GOD you came along to the world of literature because I was beginning to think I was the only teenage girl out there who liked a guy with red hair (have you seen me mention a certain boy named Travis from We The Kings…uh yeah. I love him!) Anyways, there is just something about his character that was almost unimportant at the beginning but somehow became such a huge piece to the second half of the book. Marcus is your picture perfect bad boy. Long red dreads, a different girl every week, and a bad streak with the law; what girl wouldn’t be all over that? Apparently, Jessica Darling. She tries so hard to keep her distance from Marcus but he sees right through the façade she creates and Marcus likes nothing more than to push her buttons. The more and more Marcus tries to get Jessica to see how fake she is being, the more she actually starts realizing it for herself. I don’t mean to be a major spoiler here but there was totally a cat-fight scene in the book and Jessica actually stood up for herself (thanks to Marcus) and I almost started clapping & cheering after reading it. He was able to help her grow and speak up for herself so I instantly love him for it.

Now on to the less serious reasons I love Marcus Flutie:

1)      The boy band t-shirts. “Backstreet’s back, ALRIGHT!”

2)      The random topics in class. “Did you know that the average American spends six months of his or her life waiting for red lights to turn green?” Who knew Marcus was a fountain of knowledge

3)      Those late night phone calls. Oh gosh, it takes me back to the good old days of staying up until 2 a.m. talking quietly on the phone with a guy so my parents wouldn’t get mad.

4)      His unnerving way of telling Jessica exactly how it is. He also refrains from holding anything back so it’s hilarious to see these two go back and forth.

5)      He bit her lip. No he didn’t kiss her, he bit her!

6)      He writes poetry. It may be dirty poetry but it is still written by him and made me swoon a bit more!

7)      He can make my girl Jessica say Sha-ZAM, enough said!!!

The list of reasons why Jessica, Marcus and this book as a whole, rocked my socks off, could go on and on for days. I could gush about the characters day and night but instead will leave you with these two videos that were created in honor of Sloppy Firsts 10th birthday!

This first one was made by Anna at Anna Reads! How could you not think that is the most adorable thing ever?

This one is made by Geisha P. Pants. When I first watched it I thought “what the heck is this?” After reading the book I think it is the most epic video ever made!

Tune-In Tuesday (26)

Tune In Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. That being said, feel free to leave a link to your Tune-In Tuesday post!

This past week I was listening to a Pandora station (as I so often do) when a song came on. I have heard the song(s) included in this before but have never heard that exact version. Sound confusing? Well, at the moment it was. This guy was singing a mix of Alicia Keys, Jordan Sparks, and Black Eyed Peas all in one song! This blew my mind. Then I realized who it was singing it, none other than Boyce Avenue. Of course it all made sense after that because Boyce Avenue totally kicks butt when it comes to covers. I could listen to Boyce Avenue’s cover to nearly every song out there (yes, even Polka music is included in this) and I would love them all the same! Just take a listen and tell me what you think!

P.s. I was feeling some MAJOR love for Boyce Avenue but I just can’t post every cover song they have done. You NEED to check out more by them, these are just a few of my favorites!

I never would have thought those three songs could be combined together like that but the result is awesome!

Bruno Mars rocks my socks off and I just adored this song when it came out. I love their version of it too!

You can’t out-do the original of this song but Boyce Avenue sure did a wonderful job on it!

This one is TOTALLY for Ashley and Cyndi! We had a wonderful conversation about how awesome Christina Perri is so I got super excited when I saw they covered one of my favorites by her!

Excuse me while I show my Taylor Swift fan-girlnesses right now! (Sorry, DirtyBrit!) I just had to show their version of one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs! I still like Taylor’s version a whole lot more but it was interesting seeing it as a duet!

My 200th Blog Post….Ever!

My, my where does the time go? One day I was just posting a new IMM blog and then all of a sudden I see in big, bold letters THIS IS YOUR 199th BLOG POST! Thank goodness WordPress said something to me otherwise I would have gone about my normal business and wouldn’t have even paid tribute to this awesome day. I asked a few of you on Twitter what I should do for my 200th blog post and the response was vlog, vlog, vlog. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that is NOT what you will find today. Instead I will be posting a vlog sometime soon (very soon) and will be poking fun at myself while also giving you guys a chance to win some books because I am awesome like that. So now that you know what is up, let’s get on to the fun part, making fun of my past blog posts while also looking at a few that are special to me!

1) My First Blog….Ever! The first blog post I ever did is like an incomplete thought. I started the blog post off just fine (a little dorky but somewhat understandable considering it was my first one ever). I only wrote a small paragraph telling everyone (or at the time the one person who viewed my blog that day) exactly why I was starting a blog. The most ironic thing is that I created a blog to “make it a lot easier to stay updated with the YA Book Club.” Well, I currently post hardly any reviews of the books we read for book club.

2) My 2nd Blog….Ever! & Mission NOT Accomplished You have got to enjoy dramatic irony! Of course in My 2nd Blog…Ever! I talk about how all I want to do is finish the three books I was reading and of course the next day, I talk about how that did not happen at all. Can I also take a moment to point out my extremely creative ability at making blog post titles?

3) My Name is Katelyn and I am Addicted to Cheddar Cheese Bagels, Borders, and Bejeweled Blitz Only I am weird enough to base a whole entire blog post off of these three things. Honestly, I don’t know what the heck was going through my head. Really, my ability to ramble and create lists is only accentuated by this blog post. Oh and guess what, I still haven’t read The Hunger Games!

4) One Rough Week! Everyone complains but looking back on this one post in particular, I want to strap a piece of duck tape over my mouth for forever. My yearly quota for complaining was used up in one post alone. That is embarrassing. Also, I have yet ANOTHER list in this post. Clearly I like lists.

5) My Poor, Neglected Blog There are a few odd things about this post. 1)I never come out and say why my blog is poor and neglected. I just assume everyone knows. 2) I complain. A lot….again. 3) I quote Snookie 4) I give relationship advice 5) And I give you guys a breakdown of my wallet’s health

6) Here It Goes Nothing to really make fun of for this blog post. I am actually impressed that I mentioned so many great books at one time!

7) Happy Halloween! I love random, pointless posts that I used to post like this one. I start off talking about Halloween costumes and somehow transfer to the delicious drinks at Borders. So odd!

8) Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl This was my first actual book review. I apparently thought reviewing a book meant summarizing it for the world to see.

9) Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace My crazy, strange obsession with Taylor Swift is evident in this post. Read it and you will find out exactly what I mean.

10) And The Winner Is…Me?  & Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols The obsession I have for Jennifer Echols is quite evident in these two posts.

11) My Bucket List For 2011 Oh my gosh, I crack myself up sometimes. Just scroll through some of my goals for 2011. 2, 5, 7, and 8 have yet to be completed!

12) Random Post Form Yours Truly I have some serious issues in this post. I am scatter-brained and bounce from one topic to another. Anyone reading it could get dizzy with all the mood changes.

13) In My Mailbox (1) I bought so many freaking books! I cannot believe I allowed myself to spend that much money. Also this one features the first book I ever got for review. Eeek!

14) A Post In Which I Complain A Lot Clearly, I like to complain. It is apparent in nearly every blog post but even more so in this one (if you couldn’t tell by the title!

15) Puppies Galore! Oh my little puppies. There are lots of super cute pictures but I think my clever captions stole the show!

16) What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez & Author Interview: Ashley Hope Perez There really isn’t a whole lot to make fun about these two but it was my first real, interaction with an author so they are both special posts to me!

17) The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg I love this book mostly because it reminds me of my best friend and I. Read my review and you will find out exactly what I mean!

18) The Craziest Thing I Have Ever Done I can’t believe I shared this amount of lameness with the blogging world.

19) Katelyn & Kati Takeover Myrtle Beach We are really cool and we have a superb picture-taking ability.

20) One Unlucky Moment and a Winner I can’t believe I shared this story with the blogging world either!

I am sure all of you are about sick of looking through all my past blog posts & reminiscing with me and you really just want to get on to the best part, the giveaway! One lucky winner will pick any book ($15 value or less) from The Book Depository (if they ship to your country)! That’s right, this contest is INTERNATIONAL! Here are the guidelines!

Must leave a comment on YOUR favorite blog post of mine. It can be from the list above or any of the others. Make sure to include in that comment that it is for your entry into the giveaway.

Must have a valid e-mail address or some way to contact you

Must leave comment before September 26th

If you want some EXTRA POINTS you can do one, some, or all of the following

+1 Follow me, @KatelynTorrey, on Twitter

+1 Add me, Katelyn Torrey, as a friend on Goodreads

+1 Like “Katelyn’s Blog” on Facebook

+2 Tweet about the giveaway (MUST LEAVE LINK)

If there are any questions about the giveaway, please feel free to ask me. It’s a bit different then what I usually do so I understand if there’s any confusion!