Matt de la Peña on ‘Tough Teens,’ reading, and writing

mattOne of our favorite authors has written a blog for NPR about books changing lives. We love it! Just wanted to share it with you as well.

Even more surprisingly, though, when I turned the last page I found myself on the verge of tears. I was shocked. How could black and white on a page make me feel so emotional? I was a tough kid from a tougher family. I hadn’t shed a tear since elementary school. And here I was, choked up. From a book.
-Matt de la Peña, Sometimes The ‘Tough Teen’ Is Quietly Writing Stories

Matt talks with passion about literature in his own life and the lives around him. We’d love to hear any stories you’d like to share about books and reading and the changes they bring. And don’t miss Ryan W.’s review of Matt’s new book The Living.

The Living – Great Adventure Novel – On Bookshelves Now

The Living

The Living by Matt de la Pena, was surprisingly one of the best adventure novels I’ve ever read. Most adventure novels are just adrenaline and action but The Living was more than that. The story deals with social barriers, unreturned love and corruption while still providing suspense and excitement.

Shy is a character that starts out looking normal and kind of bland but as the story goes on, and his life is destroyed, Shy shows that he’s a survivor at heart.

The plotline of The Living starts off a little slow but as the story progresses it gets deeper and reveals the darker sides of people. Once I got into The Living I just couldn’t put it down! The witness of a suicide pulls you in and I loved how de la Pena unfolds each disaster in a totally new way.  He makes you think the worst is over when there’s more to come. One of my favorite parts of the book dealt with Shy’s crush, Carmen. He really likes her but she doesn’t know it. She’s engaged to be married but it’s clear that she and Shy share a deep connection. What I like most though, is the fact that their relationship isn’t the focus of the story.  The Living is mostly about Shy’s story with Carmen as a side character. However, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like to see more of Carmen in the next book! It’ll be cool to see how their world and relationship unfolds in the sequel!

If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games and other mysterious thrillers, The Living is the book for you!

Proxy – For fans of Legend, and Other Dystopian Thrillers

Proxy

Proxy, by Alex London, is set in a futuristic dystopian Denver hundreds of years in the future. The society is the only civilization on the continent and runs on the “proxy” system where the rich own the poor’s debt and the poor take the rich’s punishments. Syd is a poor citizen living a boring and terrible life because his “patron”, Knox (a rich person), is basically a criminal. One day Knox accidentally goes too far when he kills a girl and can’t face the consequences. This event threatens to ruin both of their lives and forces Syd and Knox to see the truth behind their society.

I loved how London isn’t afraid to include a homosexual main character.  It helps make the story more interesting and also gives insight on how someone’s sexuality doesn’t change who they are. The best part of the book by far was how the author presents and describes the city throughout the story. The description is so intricate and seamless that I could basically see London’s futuristic world before me. Proxy gave me a whole new view on how society works and showed me that everything really does come with a price.

For fans of Legend, and other dystopian thrillers, Proxy is the book to get!

Furious – Set in Santa Cruz – Great Book Find

Furious

Furious, by Jill Wolfson is set in Santa Cruz and is about three girls who all have terrible lives. Meg is a foster child living with an abusive and neglectful foster mom and her school life isn’t any better either.  She’s picked on and shunned by everyone except for her best friend.  Alex is a poor surfer girl with a deadbeat father and no friends.  All of the surfer guys harass and bully her.  Stephanie is a nature activist with parents that are the leading real estate owners in the area.  Stephanie is made fun of at school for loving the environment while her parents’ real estate company goes around destroying it.  These three teens wind up meeting Ambrosia who shows them how to fix their lives and the people that they should be.

My favorite part of Furious is Meg’s romance with her crush, Brendon. It starts out nice and romantic but turns horribly wrong when Ambrosia secretly sets them up for failure. Wolfson did an amazing job portraying their emotions and feelings so accurately that it was like I was looking into their heads.

If you’re a fan of The Percy Jackson series and other mythological thrillers, Furious is the book to find!

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

dreamthievesOut Now!

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater! Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after….

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name VerityA masterpiece of historical verisimilitude and gut-wrenching mystery, this is the tale of a powerful WWII friendship between a pilot named Maddie and a spy named Verity (among other things). Breathtaking, heartbreaking, and bursting with life. —Booklist Editors’ Choice.

The House of Hades: Released October 8, 2013

The House of HadesHow exciting! Book 4 of The Heroes of Olympus will be released on October 8th!

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape? They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.