Tag Archives: Selective Collective

Secret Santas, Thanksmas, and Holiday Cheer!

Hi, friends! Happy holidays from The Book Addict’s Guide!

It’s been another fun season of holiday plans, gifts, and Secret Santas! I had an absolute blast this year shopping for people and I was also totally spoiled with so many of my gifts! I wanted to share with you not only the gifts that I got this year but also some of my own personal Christmas stories this year!

IMG_2029This year — like the past two years — Shane and I went to go cut down our own tree. Both of our families have transitioned from cutting down a tree to buying a pre-cut tree to owning a fake tree. I have nothing against fake trees at all, but we both really missed having a real tree and there’s just something special for us about picking our own and cutting it down! This year we actually chose a different Christmas tree farm and it was the first year that we didn’t have the use of Shane’s mom’s minivan so that meant… Squishing a tree into my Hyundai Elantra. The space between the trunk and the folded wasn’t quite IMG_2037big enough to fit our tree even with netting so we actually were able to put it in the backseat with the edge sticking out the window! It was an interesting experience but a lot of fun. We stuck with a smaller tree even though we have a nice, big house to put it in this year instead of my (former) apartment since we still had to squish it into my car! This year’s tree is named Rudolph (see his antlers?). I still miss Short Round (aptly named for his general shape) who was our tree the first year. How bad am I that I can’t even remember the name of our tree last year? He just wasn’t Short Round, that’s all I know haha! We still have very few Christmas decorations (including a lack of star for the top of our tree) but hey, there’s always next year! And the year after that and the year after that…

Keeping in my family’s new tradition (as of… wow, two years ago, already?), Shane and I went up to my sister and brother-in-law’s house in Milwaukee for Thanksmas: a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled into one so we don’t have to split up our holidays and scramble trying to accommodate several families and extended families and in laws all in one day! We had a spending limit this year of $25 per person (which really most people didn’t follow, my parents especially considering Shane got an electric drill, sets of tools, and I got lots of things for the kitchen). We had a really, really nice time and I was so happy to see my niece again who is now nine months old and standing on her own! Only for a few seconds, but she’s going to be walking soon and it was so exciting to see her growing into such a little person!

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SECRET SANTA

Okay, now onto the presents!!!! I got SPOILED this year. Last year for The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa, despite many attempts my Jamie… my present never showed up. I actually still have no idea who was Secret Santa was supposed to be and wanted to know but didn’t want to know all at the same time. Anyway, that’s besides the point! Because of my unfortunate experience last year (through no fault of Jamie or The Broke and the Bookish girls!), Jamie promised to pair me up with someone spectacular this year and boy did she!!! Jamie paired me up with Estelle from Rather Be Reading (who is also one of my good friends and I absolutely adore) so I was THRILLED when my Secret Santa box came in and found out it was from Estelle! She got me the most amazing presents!

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Firstly, HI. That card? Flipping fantastic! (And in case you missed it, she had a whole post on her fabulous YA Book themed holiday cards) She MADE ME A MIX TAPE of Christmas songs! How lovely is that?! That’s one of my favorite parts, honestly. I love mix CDs and I love personal gifts like that. See those tree coasters up there? ALSO LOVE. Disney postcards, Minnie Mouse nail file, “Beer Me” napkins (since we both love beer), and so many more cute things. She also got me some books I’ve been meaning to read! I’ve been dying to read Past Perfect for like, YEARS. Also super looking forward to finally reading This Is What Happy Looks Like and she surprised me with The Catastrophic History of You and Me because she loved it so much! So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU again, Estelle! I had such a present hangover. I absolutely loved everything!

I also got a wonderful gift from my Secret Santa exchange that we do with The Selective Collective! My present came in the very next day after Estelle’s and I was excited all over again! Daphne from Gone Pecan got me some wonderful gifts!!!

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I’ve been dying for a travel mug and MMMMM Reece’s! (Honestly devoured those instantly.) I was so excited for the lovely personalized ornament (immediately stuck it on my tree) and Cracked Up to Be and When You Were Here!  

PRESENTS FROM FRIENDS

I also got some AMAZING presents from the best friends in the world, Alyssa and Amy! They totally spoiled me ROTTEN. I got part one of Alyssa’s present first (box #2 is still on the way… somewhere! Hopefully should turn up even if it is after Christmas!) and it was A BOX FULL OF BOOKS. The best part? They were all of her favorites!

IMG_2162LOVE THE DISNEY PAPER!!!!

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OMG OMGGGG some of Alyssa’s favorite books that I’ve been meaning and dying to read <3

Another BIG thank you to Alyssa!!!!! I LOVE the books and I’m also excited to see what’s in box number two! 

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Then just this past SUNDAY (yes, SUNDAY I got mail! Special delivery!) I got my present from Ame! I was elated and immediately tore into the box and was so excited for so many cute things!

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Cutie little snowman (which I loved!!!) and a SNUGGLY SCARF! (That’s me snuggling in it immediately after opening it.) 

IMG_2151LOOK AT ALL THESE BOOKS!!!!

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Amy also bought me the Hogwarts Library!! I’ve been meaning to read these forever AND they’re helping me complete my Goodreads challenge (hopefully)! 

I totally and completely got spoiled this year. THANK YOU THANK YOU for all of the fantastic gifts! This Christmas has been pretty wonderful and even more so than the presents, I’m so thankful for the wonderful friends that I have! They mean so much to me and I’m so happy to have made such wonderful friends this year and grown closer to the friends I already had <3 I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds!

Author Interview: Laura Buzo + Love and Other Perishable Items Giveaway!

INTERVIEW WITH LAURA BUZO

As a special treat for Valentine’s Day, I have an interview with Laura Buzo, author of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS!

Before we jump into the questions, here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Book Synopsis:  Love is awkward, Amelia should know.
From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It’s problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.
Amelia isn’t stupid. She knows it’s not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia’s crush doesn’t seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?
Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR LAURA BUZO

Laura Buzo was gracious enough to grant us an interview as part of the Selective Collective’s promotion of Love and Other Perishable Items. We had to delay the questions a bit due to the crazy holiday season, but now we have the questions just in time for Valentine’s Day, which is pretty perfect! So without further ado, here’s the Q&A with Laura Buzo!

Brittany/Selective Collective: In LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS, we see a relationship develop between 15-year-old Amelia and 21-year-old Chris. I know a big part of the story is the age difference between the two main characters – Was it ever difficult trying to get these two characters to meet in the middle?
Laura Buzo: Yes, the two main characters are separated by a chasm! Ages, life stages, social circles. I guess the fact that they can still forge a connection is the ‘hook’ of the book. You know, what will drag you into wanting to read the book. “How can it… it can’t… surely?” I think ultimately Chris and Amelia have a strong intellectual connection and they can ‘recognise a kindred spirit’. They meet in the middle through conversations – which I really enjoyed writing! – and the supermarket they work in provides the location for that to happen. There is no way they would have met in regular social circles! I worked casual ‘Mc-jobs’ since I was 14 years old all the way through to graduation from university and the best thing about it was meeting people you would not have crossed paths with otherwise. I had some amazing conversations over cash registers, down in window-less industrial basements, in restaurant kitchens, behind retail counters!

B/SC: Your novel features dual point of views from both Amelia and Chris. Did you always intend for both characters to share their side of the story, or was it something that developed naturally as the story progressed?
LB: I started writing Amelia’s sections first and then moved on to Chris, and so on. It was really refreshing to be able to switch perspectives every now and again. It kept me from getting at all bored. I really really enjoyed writing from a male perspective. On one hand, there was a lot more imagination necessary, and yet at the same time Chris is a lot like me. Plus I have always loved that particular device in literature – when a writer shows the same events through different perspectives and you can see just how differently two people can experience the same things! I was a keen diarist through adolescence and early adulthood, as was a close friend of mine, so using the diary as a narrative device felt very natural for me.

B/SC: I’m sure a lot of us remember our first big crush and learning how to handle the ins and outs of starting a serious relationship. Was the story of Amelia and Chris fueled by any of your past experiences?
LB: Um, what have you heard?
Just kidding.
Yes, I do write pretty close to life. I have been on the rough end of the unrequited stick more than once. And my first job was in a supermarket. They say ‘there’s no fool like an old fool’ but I say there’s no fool like a young fool. The raw material of the story came from a real place in my heart, but the creation of a novel relies on a whole different set of mechanisms than ‘real life’, whatever that may be.

B/SC: Amelia goes through a lot of “firsts” very rapidly after meeting and spending time with Chris. Was there ever a moment while writing the story that you worried about Amelia going through too much at once?
LB: I wouldn’t say I ever felt ‘worried’ about her. She’s pretty resilient in a lot of ways, and we all have to get acquainted with the cruel world sooner or later.
I had a soft spot for Amelia, and I wanted to spare her pain and embarrassment. I wanted her to get what she wanted. But there wouldn’t have been a novel in that, would there?

B/SC: There are some fantastic Australian authors gaining a lot of notoriety amongst American readers (Melina Marchetta comes to mind). Did you find it difficult breaking into the American side of publishing? What other great Austrailian authors should we know about?
LB: Ah yes, Melina Marchetta rocks! Cath Crowley and Joanne Horniman are also favourites of mine. Catherine Jinks has published many novels for young adults, adult adults and more! She is really great at it.Check ’em out! And showing my age…. when I was in my teens (in the 1990s!) I really enjoyed reading books by Aussie literary icon Ruth Park. She wrote about growing up in the Sydney slums in the 1930s – so fascinating, so human. And some rockin’ other historical fiction.
As for ‘breaking into’ the American market, I was lucky that I had very little to do with that. My Australian publisher found a buyer in the states – Knopf – without too much trouble I think. I guess there are kind of universal themes in the book. I’ve not yet been able to find a taker for my second novel in the states – maybe I had beginner’s luck!

GIVEAWAY!

I am lucky enough to be able to provide another giveaway for a hardcover copy of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS, courtesy of Knopf Books/Random House! Check out the link for the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You know those pesky rules… Winner must be 13 years of age or older, US only – Sorry, friends!

Update 2/21: CONGRATS to Sasha K as our winner for the giveaway!!

Want more of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS? Check out our features from 12/31 when we featured LOVE as our December book!
Thank you once again to Random House for providing us with the book and the opportunity to promote!

Tee @ YA Crush Feature Post: Books Work Place Relationships
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA Review
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks Casting Call
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan Round Table: Book Club Discussion

Author Profile: Laura Buzo + Love and Other Perishable Items giveaway!

The Selective Collective reads LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by LAURA BUZO

This month for The Selective Collective, we were lucky enough to receive copies of Laura Buzo’s novel, Love and Other Perishable Items (originally titled Good Oil) from Knopf Books for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I have a little more information for you about the author Laura Buzo and you can enter to win one of two hardcover copies of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS!

Before we jump into the questions, here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Book Synopsis:  Love is awkward, Amelia should know.
From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It’s problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.
Amelia isn’t stupid. She knows it’s not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia’s crush doesn’t seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?
Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

AUTHOR PROFILE: LAURA BUZO

Laura Buzo was born and grew up in Sydney, middle of three daughters. Growing up she loved swimming, riding horses, tennis, netball, running, chocolate and above all, reading. After university, Laura worked as a social worker in various acute and community-based mental health settings in Sydney. In 2005 she took some time away from work to start writing her first novel, Good Oil. Laura is still working as a social worker and has a young daughter. She lives in Sydney. (Excerpt from Laura Buzo’s author profile on Goodreads.com).

Love and Other Perishable Items is Laura Buzo’s first novel, although it was originally titled Good Oil with its 2010 release in Australia. Laura’s second novel, Holier Than Thou, was released in May 2012.

We were hoping to snag an interview with Laura Buzo as well to share a few more insights on LOVE, but unfortunately due to the timing with the holidays and our time differences (from US to Australia), we’ve had a bit of difficulty lining up the questions. We at the Selective Collective thank Laura and Knopf Books/Random House for helping us feature LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS as our December book! We enjoyed her work and look forward to more from Laura in the future.

GIVEAWAY!

To share the Love (pun intended), we have not one, but TWO hardcover copies of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS to giveaway! Check out the link for the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Click here to go to the Rafflecopter entry form!
(1/7/13: All entries closed. Thank you!)

Congrats to our two winners of the giveaway, Hannah from Book Haven Extraordinaire and Elisa from Lost Inside the Covers! Both winners have been notified of their prizes. Thanks again to all who entered!

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush Feature Post: Books Work Place Relationships
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA Review
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks Casting Call
Dixie & Maggie @ Gone Pecan Round Table: Book Club Discussion

Secret Santa: Selective Collective Edition!

Hi, friends! Happy holidays!! As I’m sure most of you know, me and a few other bloggers have an awesome group going called The Selective Collective (formerly Casting Call – and if you don’t know, you can read all about it here). Since we’ve all grown really close through all of our emails and daily chats, we decided to do a Secret Santa exchange within our group and then show off all the snazzy gifts we got because we love reveling in bookish gifts!

My Secret Santa was Kristina from Gone Pecan and she got me some awesome gifts!

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                                                Thanks, Kiki!

  • Hardcover copy of The Line by Teri Hall (which has been on my TBR list/wishlist FOREVER so yay!!!)
  • Awesome ampersand-themed notebook
  • “Honorary Cajun” coffee mug (since she’s from Louisiana)
  • Cute Christmas towel that says “Merry Christmas Y’all” (I keep telling her how I wish I was from the south so I could say “y’all”. Being a native Chicagoan…. it doesn’t quite work)
  • These really cool pencils that look like they were carved (or probably were especially crafted) straight from sticks – I thought this was funny because I actually bought colored pencils almost exactly like these for my Secret Santa that I did for The Broke and the Bookish so I was excited  when I got some of my own!

Thanks a ton!!! I love my gifts and I had a blast shopping for my fellow Selective Collective member! Want to know who it was? Check out the other blogs from the SC (and just show them love in general because they’re all great)!

Kristina & Daphne at Gone Pecan
Candice at The Grown-Up YA
Tammy at YA Crush
Sandie & Diana at Teen Lit Rocks

Happy holidays, everyone!!!

 

Meant To Be – Lauren Morrill

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The Selective Collective reads MEANT TO BE by LAUREN MORRILL

This month for The Selective Collective, we were so incredibly lucky enough to receive copies of Lauren Morrill’s debut novel, MEANT TO BE from Delacourte Press for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I have the incredible pleasure to post my review for MEANT TO BE!

Meant To Be – Lauren MorrillTitle: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: November 13, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 11, 2012
Related Posts: Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

    Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

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I absolutely, positively adored this book. This was the perfect contemporary romance and just what I needed – a nice breath of fresh air after being slightly disappointed in my last couple of reads. Lauren Morrill’s writing was fresh, fun, and real. I always get a bit worried whenever I read books that are set in places that are so foreign to me – I’ve never been across the pond to London (or off the continent of North America for that matter) – so I was a tiny bit hesitant that I would be overwhelmed with all of the unknowns that London would hold for our story. Upon reading, I found that it wasn’t the case at all. Morrill did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was on my very own vacation with the characters. Everything was beautifully described and I didn’t feel lost in a foreign country at all. Julia was a fantastic main character for me to read about. I absolutely love any character that has an utterly nerdy side because, well, I can relate! I may not have been as intensely organized as Julia, but if there was ever a nickname for me at this very moment in time, “Book Licker” could definitely be it! What I loved the most about Julia is that she not only has a life changing experience just by being over in London, but she also transforms as a person. She learns a lot about herself by breaking the rules (many, many rules) and by figuring out how to deal with her assigned buddy and current nemesis Jason. Jason was also another interesting character for me. We start off by seeing exactly how Jason and Julia conflicted with each other. Julia saw him as nothing but immature and a bully. He teases her, initiates rumors, even goes as far as sticking gum in her hair and calling her “Book Licker”. As the story goes on, we see that there’s so much more to Jason than people’s first impressions, especially Julia’s. The relationship that begins to develop between Jason and Julia once they’re forced together is a roller coaster of emotions that makes us wonder how they’ll end up once the London trip is over. I also really love the “meant to be” story line. So many times I’ve felt the same way as Julia – there’s someone out there for each one of us, a “one and only”, and I really do believe that where you end up in the end is where you’re supposed to be. What I really loved about this book is the message that Fate can only take you so far and you have to take control of your own destiny. You have to be active in your own life and you can’t just sit back and expect the world to happen around you. What I really loved is that we see Julia idolizing her parents’ MTB relationship and she expects it to happen for her. In the end, we see her come around to reality a little bit and realize that although that does happen for some people, not everyone can have this incredible, coincidental, perfect love story. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you expect and that really turns out to be your MTB situation. Although the final message almost appeared to be that there is no such thing as “meant to be” for everyone, what I like to take from it is that “meant to be” can happen for everyone, but it’s just not always what you expect it to be and not always what you’re looking for. character_breakdown1

Julia: Oh, Julia! I totally could see myself being best friends with Julia. Or I could see myself as Julia. I loved watching her transformation throughout this book and seeing how she discovers different bits and pieces about herself as the book progresses. It really reminded me a lot of similar situations that I went through as a teenager, figuring out what rules to break and what ideas it’s time to grow out of.
Jason: I really enjoyed watching Jason and Julia go back and forth from enemies to friends to enemies to two dewey-eyed kids falling in love. The best part about Jason’s character is that we see him as a bully, a name-caller, and immature, but that’s just what everyone sees on the surface. His character is much more deep and involved than Julia or her classmates realize. I’m really not sure if we see Jason actually grow throughout the story or if we just discover layers of him that were always buried underneath. Either way, I loved seeing his transformation through Julia’s eyes and how through these revelations, their relationship changes entirely.

QUOTES

These quotes are from the Advanced Reader’s Copy — Page numbers and wording may vary from published copy.

p 25-26: “I have my own e-reader, but I hardly ever use it. I need to fold down pages and flag passages with sticky notes. I need to experience books, not just read them.” (I then proceeded to tweet Lauren Morrill about how much this described me to a tee. And I flagged the passage with a sticky note)

p 29: “‘The Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed or almost twenty years. So unless her parents are visiting 1992, they’re in the Czech Republic.'”

p 152: “In fact, he has been the exact opposite of helpful (help-empty?).”

p 191: (Jason) “‘Well, either you stand here in this rainstorm, or you take a chance with me.'” (My favorite line of the entire book)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MEANT TO BE

     

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of MEANT TO BE so please go visit their take on the book as well!

The Elementals: A Perfect Example of New Adult

The Selective Collective reads THE ELEMENTALS by FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK

Intro to The Selective Collective

You may know us as the ladies behind Casting Call, but I am so excited to say that Sandie and Diana (Teen Lit Rocks), Tee (YA Crush), Dixie and Maggie (Gone Pecan), Candice (The Grown Up YA), and I have officially formed a book club called The Selective Collective. Each month we’ll bring you one or two new releases or upcoming books to read, review, and discuss, exclusively in the genres of YA and New Adult. Each blog will host a specific feature to discuss the book whether by questions, review, discussion, etc., and the blog to host each feature will flip every book so we all get a chance to explore these amazing reads in different ways.

Without further ado, let’s jump into our very first book for The Selective Collective, and that was The Elementals by Francesca Lia Block (provided to us by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press exclusively for the use of our book club).
Check out Goodreads for a full synopsis and more information.

The Elusive Genre of New Adult

When we first received The Elementals for our October read, I was expecting more of a young adult novel based on the Goodreads description, specifically when it refers to The Elementals as a coming-of-age story. The further I got into the book, the more I realized how it was quite far from young adult! I’m happy to say that this is one of those elusive New Adult titles I’ve been craving ever since my college days.

Toto, We’re Not In High School Anymore…

The Elementals tells us the story of Ariel, a freshman at Berkeley, who’s struggling to cope with the new revelation of her mother’s breast cancer and the unresolved case of her best friend Jeni’s disappearance a year prior to her arrival at college. For the first time ever, she is truly on her own. Ariel had a really close relationship with her family and her that family dynamic has totally been turned upside down with the introduction of cancer into the mix. Her parents try to shield her from the horrible experiences that her mother is withstanding and Ariel also does her best to avoid any awkward or uncomfortable topics. Ariel is also now completely alone in the fact that her best friend Jeni was her other half. From childhood throughout high school, they were inseparable and did everything together, even down to applying to the same college and living together there. With these two giant rifts in her life and the separation from the home she’s always known, Ariel takes a really big step to becoming independent at the most unstable point in her life.
The New Adult genre is quite different from Young Adult in the fact that our main characters are now experiencing life in a totally different way – they’re completely independent for the first time in their lives and must now face multitudes of responsibilities, many of which can be overwhelming. I think Francesca Lia Block did a great job of having the reading experience all of these brand-new changes through Ariel. I really felt a sense of how alone she must have felt being in a strange place, living with a stranger who is quite the opposite, as well as taking more difficult classes and managing her own extra-curriculars and actively building social connections. We’re separated from the high school environment where we had friends in every class, most of which were probably kids we went to school with all of our lives, as well as food, shelter, and money being provided by dear old Mom and Dad. We see all of the above in Ariel’s story – she’s lost her family connection by moving out, and she’s also lost that familiar connection with the absence of Jeni in her life. Jeni really was her rock, the one person she could count on as a social support, and it almost seems like with this huge hole in her life, Ariel’s not quite sure how to create healthy relationships. It also seems a lot harder for her to meet people in college when she really has to go out of her way to talk to people and make real connections.
Even if a New Adult novel doesn’t necessarily focus on the college experience, the characters are reaching the age when it’s time to leave the house and focus on building a life for themselves. They now have the freedom to go out and pursue new experiences, many of which they couldn’t do under their parents roofs.

Not Suitable for Younger Audiences

College and/or moving out of the home does force a lot of responsibility, but it also allows for quite a bit of freedoms, many of which Ariel chooses to pursue throughout The Elementals, one of which is exploring her sexuality for the first time in her life. This seems to be a REALLY big difference between New Adult and Young Adult with the specific example of The Elementals in mind. We do often see sexual encounters and teen relationships developing in Young Adult novels, but I think a big difference we see here is the detail in which the relationships are explored. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it’s anything like a romance novel – but the descriptions and details of the sexual side of the characters are much more explicit and are also taken to different and darker places. Throughout The Elementals, we deal with abuse, drug influences, hazing, bullying, and passion all intertwining with sexual elements. That’s not to say we don’t see any of these topics in Young Adult literature, but they are not discussed as in depth or are used so prominently as themes throughout the book. Sex is definitely a major theme in this book and I would also say that it’s definitely geared towards more maturer audiences.
On a smaller level, we see a large selection of other freedoms that Ariel experiences as well: Freedom to leave her home as she pleases – or on the flip side, to choose not to come home and to stay with John, Tania, and Perry. She has the ability to dabble with alcohol and drugs, although on a minor level of wine and marijuana use with her friends. We do also see these elements in some young adult novels, but I think the difference from that and New Adult is that even a few years makes a difference: I feel that readers, in general, are a lot more receptive to all of these kinds of experimentations for a teenager transitioning into adulthood and figuring out their own choices at 18/19/20 whereas the same situations at 15/16/17 may come off as intense, inappropriate, or damaging.

Truly a Coming of Age Tale

I really do feel like The Elementals could only be described as a New Adult book. Even though I was a bit thrown off by the fact that it was described as a “coming of age” tale – something I usually attribute to the young adult age range – I’ve really started to change my mind of what “coming of age” really entails. After reading The Elementals and really connecting this with my own personal experiences, I couldn’t agree more that when I was a “new adult”, those were the times I started to change the most. Away from home, making my own money, truly making my own decisions without parental influence, taking steps to make a real future for myself – That’s really the time I started make a lot of changes towards the person I am today.

So what do you think? How are you enjoying the development of the New Adult genre? What do you think are the defining elements between Young Adult and New Adult? 

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of The Elementals so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Review:  The Elementals – Tee @ YA Crush
Author Q &A + Giveaway:
  Francesca Lia Block – Candice @ The Grown-Up YA
Casting Call:  Who would you cast in The Elementals?
– Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks
General Discussion/Book Club Questions – Dixie & Maggie @ Gone Pecan