I recently had the privilege to interview author Joelle Anthony, along with fellow Teen Ambassador Dorothy. Joelle Anthony is a playwright, actress, writing teacher, and author of three novels for teens, Restoring Harmony, The Right & the Real and Speed of Life (published under the pen name J. M. Kelly.) She is currently also an audiobook narrator. We discussed everything from writing advice to the process of audiobook recording, to even our favourite flavours of ice cream! Here are some of my highlights from the interview:
Dorothy: “How do you choose your topics for your books? Is it inspiration, and does it come suddenly, or do you have start with a basic idea?
Joelle: It’s a collection of different small things that all of a sudden come together. For Speed of life, for example, I used to ride the bus a lot when I lived in the city. I saw these teen mothers with their babies and they got on the bus, and they had these strollers and groceries and they just looked so exhausted. The looked so young, too and I thought… these girls are well past the point of “Oh my God I’m pregnant” and they’ve made the decision that “I’m going to keep my baby” and now they’re living with that. It struck me that nobody ever talks about what it’s like to live with the baby afterwards. There are books about the big decision, there’s the upheavals of family, but nobody ever really gives them their little moment for people understand like OK you’ve made the decision and now you can’t go back on it. I thought, this is what total exhaustion 24-hours-a-day looks like, taking the bus because you haven’t had a chance to go to University, or learn a trade, and buy a car.
Blind, by Rachel DeWoskin was a raw, powerful, and captivating read.
This book is about fifteen-year-old Emma who became blind after an accident. Everything that had come naturally to her now is impossible to do, like choosing an outfit or crossing a road. Almost a year after her accident, though, Emma decides that she’s ready to start high school again. She wants everything to go back to normal… except that there is no normal for a girl like her
Then, a girl from Emma’s grade is found dead in a lake, and the world twists on its axis again. The people in Emma’s town are content with declaring Claire’s death an accident, but Emma wants to know what really happened.
I found this book very interesting because it showed how life is like for a blind person. Another aspect of the story I liked was Emma’s relationship with her family. As one of seven children, it was interesting to see each siblings’ personality and what it’s like living in a big family.
I give this book a 7/10. Although I loved each scene and every character, there was no apparent plot. Emma grappled with her blindness for half the book, and the other half was spent discussing Claire’s death. There were no big action scenes, and the lack of suspense was a bit disappointing. Despite that, I loved the characters and each of the relationships Emma built with them. I would recommend this book to other people who want to read something different.
Cold Cereal by Adam Rex
Cold Cereal by Adam Rex is two parts comedy, one part urban fantasy, and a little sci-fi thrown into the mix for good measure. I am honestly upset that it does not have a bigger following, because it is HILARIOUS. The three main (human) characters may have slightly bland personalities, but Rex makes up for them by tenfold in the humourous, fantastical, sometimes poetic, and most definitely strange world he builds around them. Every page, every end of chapter leaves you wanting more of that world, and the suspense that lives in it.
The demographic for this book is probably somewhere from 7-12, but there are some sequences that you will probably understand better if you’re a little older.
“Cold Cereal” will enchant your, capture your heart, and quite possibly bring you to tears (of laughter). It has not changed my life in a big way, but even as I reread it for the fourth time, it still holds my attention and makes me laugh. Read this book. You will not regret it.
Note: “Cold Cereal” is part of a trilogy: The Cold Cereal Saga. The following books are “Unlucky Charms” and Champions of Breakfast”. Both are also awesome.
Peace, Love, And Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Baby ducks…… soooo cuuteee, right? Don’t like ducks? We’ll work our way around that thought. But…..drumroll please……Lauren Myracle did it again! This book is filled with cuteness of baby ducks, a girl fighting to be different, and one fighting to be like her sister. Doesn’t sound like much now, but wait till you read it! I personally expected way less, which is saying A LOT, since I have been known to have high expectations for books. Especially for authors who have written books that I loved in the past. For Lauren Myracle, this was definitely the case. 🙂 I have just recently read Thirteen and The Infinite Moment of Us; also books by Lauren Myracle-both books had stunned me!
This one of Lauren Myracle’s masterpieces, however, was not like the others. This one is about sisterly friendships-and fights. The older sister, Carly, was always the one who wanted to be ‘different’. But a good different. Something like: praying that her hairy legs would dissapear, or.. developing a sudden beauty. But things fire backwards when Anna, her younger sister, becomes ‘hot’ over the summer. And she’s only fourteen! She’s like a tourist attraction centre all over the school! Boys drool at the sight of her, while girls envy her beauty. Carly starts to feel jealous, oblivious to the fact that a boy named Roger has been crushing on her long before Anna turned ‘hot’. But not only that, Anna and Carly have been fighting more and more than usual. Usually, a little bickering will go on here and there, but now, the sisters might, even, by chance, end up ignoring each other for a week! Both girls have their own problems, and sisters aren’t just there for nothing, right?! 🙂