Audiobook Review: Run by Kody Keplinger

Audio Review

RunTitle: Run

Author: Kody Keplinger

Narrators: Em Eldridge, Elizabeth Evans

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: June 28th, 2016

Source: Audio purchased via Audible

Interest: Author / Contemp

Summary (From Goodreads):

Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who’s not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter — protect her from what, Agnes isn’t quite sure.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.

So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo’s dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and — worst of all — confronting some ugly secrets.

Audio Review:

I decided to listen to Run because I love Kody Keplinger’s books and also because I was listening to another audiobook, but it was getting a little too “adult” let’s say to be listening to with Jack in the car. Sure, there’s some foul language in Run, but that doesn’t bother me too much. I can tell Jack they’re using a bad word, but how do I explain sexual stuff to a two year old? Not that he understands it, but I’m sure you get where I’m going with this.

Anyway. I don’t think I’ve listened to Em Eldridge narrate any other books, but I have listened to Elizabeth Evans narrate a couple books and I enjoyed it. Also, the audio for Run is just over seven hours long which is always a plus. I enjoyed the dual narration and even the southern accents each narrator used.

Book Review:

The only book written by Kody Keplinger that I have not read yet is The Swift Boys Me. With that said, I feel the need to begin this review by saying that Run is so very different from her other books I’ve read. There’s a love angle in the others (which I enjoy) yet this story focuses more on friendship (which I also enjoy). This book felt like a milestone for Kody Keplinger; I felt like I was reading a book that shows how much she has grown as an author.

Also, the two perspectives really worked for me. I’ve found that I often prefer one character over another when I listen to a dual narrative, but I enjoyed Agnes and Bo equally. I also like that Bo’s point of view is set in the present and Agnes’s story starts when she and Bo first meet and become friends. The stories come together and often added layers to each other’s point of view, if that makes sense.

I love that through Agnes, readers can understand a character who is legally blind. Agnes has been treated differently her entire life and once she becomes friends with Bo she begins to recognize this. Bo doesn’t treat her any differently than a person who can see clearly. I loved reading this part of Agnes’s life because she shows so much growth through this part of the story. Her parents are at times annoyingly overprotective which causes a lot of conflict for Agnes. So we get to learn who Agnes is as a person, her thoughts about being blind and how others treat her, and how she can overcome those obstacles. All while still reading about her friendship with Bo and their story together.

Kody Keplinger also includes poverty in Run. Without intending to, I have read at least three or more books this summer with characters in poverty. I’m thankful that it worked out this way because even though poverty wasn’t the focus of the story, it’s still an important element. And it’s an element that I don’t see enough in young adult literature even though so many students face poverty. Bo lives in a trailer, her mother is addicted to meth, and her entire family has a reputation for being drug addicts, trash, etc. Through both Bo and Agnes we see just how much Bo goes against the family grain.

I really can’t say enough positive things about Run. I’m buying a physical copy immediately because I want it available for my beginning of the school year book pass. I can’t wait to get this book in my students’ hands!

 

Waiting on Wednesday–Run by Kody Keplinger

wow

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

I’m so excited to read a new Kody Keplinger novel! My students and I love her books, so much so that a couple copies of her books have gone missing from my classroom library. Run sounds like it will be just as entertaining to read as the rest of her novels. And I really appreciate that the girls on the cover look more like high school students than most YA cover models.

RunTitle & Author: Run by Kody Keplinger

Release Date: June 28th, 2016

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary (From Goodreads):

Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who’s not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter — protect her from what, Agnes isn’t quite sure.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.

So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo’s dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and — worst of all — confronting some ugly secrets.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Recently Added to My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

There are currently 1,384 books on my Goodreads to-read shelf. I know I’ll probably never read all of them, but that’s okay because I’m always adding to that list! Today’s post focuses on the ten books I’m most excited about that have recently been added to my ever growing list.

Which books have you recently added to your TBR?

 

Book Trailer Thursday (155)–The DUFF Official Teaser Trailer

One of my former students texted me the other day asking if I knew anything about Kody Keplinger’s debut The DUFF being made into a movie. I’m not sure how I missed out on this news, but I was pretty excited when she told me about what she had heard. Only a day or so later I received a marketing email with this official teaser trailer, movie poster, and more about the upcoming movie! It releases sometime next year and I simply can’t wait. I read The DUFF in one sitting when it came out and I’ll have to read it again before I see the movie.

The DUFF movie poster

 

In Theaters In 2015
Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a content high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her as ‘The DUFF’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends (Skyler Samuels & Bianca Santos).  Now, despite the words of caution from her favorite teacher (Ken Jeong), she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby (Nick Eversman), and enlists Wesley (Robbie Amell), a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. To save her senior year from turning into a total disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison (Bella Thorne) and remind everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF.

Cast: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca Santos, Skyler Samuels, Nick Eversman, Alison Janney, Romany Malco, Ken Jeong

Directed by: Ari Sandel

Written by: Josh Cagan (screenplay), Kody Keplinger (novel)

Producers: Susan Cartsonis, McG, Mary Viola

Genre: Comedy

Distributor: CBS Films

 

#TheDUFF
Follow #TheDUFF cast:
Mae Whitman: Facebook | Twitter |Instagram
Robbie Amell: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Bella Thorne: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Bianca Santos: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Skyler Samuels: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Nick Eversman: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Ken Jeong: Facebook | Twitter

3rd Hour Book Love

I’ve posted the results from both of my Honors Sophomore Seminar classes and today I’m posting the results from my English 10 class.  Almost all of the students I have in this class I had last year when they were freshman, so it’s fun having them again and seeing their list of favorite books read in 2012.  Quite a bit of discussion, surprise, and debate was created when I shared the list.  Some of them were very passionate about their favorites and the recognition they feel those books deserve.

As a reminder, the titles my students chose are titles they read in 2012 and feel are award-worthy.

1st Hour Book Love / 2nd Hour Book Love

Top Choice: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
**I’m slightly surprised to see this as a top choice again.**

The Hunger Games

What students said about The Hunger Games trilogy (Goodreads):

“It’s very gripping.” -Nathan
“I like that it’s different.” -Ciara
“I loved all the action.” -Todd

Honorary Titles:

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach (Goodreads)
**I have more guys than girls in class, many of which play football, so I’m not surprised to see this title on the list :)**

Stupid Fast

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer (Goodreads)
**I’m surprised this is on the list because my copies of the series have been collecting dust and taking up space.**

Breaking Dawn

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (Goodreads)

“It’s an overall great story because you can actually feel the emotions.” –I wish I remembered which student said this…

The Pull of Gravity paperback

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles (Goodreads)
**Not as many students in class knew about Jumping Off Swings, so a few students took time to book talk it which sparked some new interest.**

Jumping Off Swings

Nightshade trilogy by Andrea Cremer (Goodreads)
**So many of the girls in this class are sharing and loving this series.**

Nightshade

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker (Goodreads)
**The guys in my classes request this book the most, especially my sports players. They love Carl Deuker’s books.”

“I like it because of all the expectations the main character faces and how he reacts to them.” -Jake

Gym Candy

The Duff by Kody Keplinger (Goodreads)
**There was some shock that Shut Out didn’t make the list.**

The DUFF

Paranormalcy trilogy by Kiersten White (Goodreads)

paranormalcy1

Boy21 by Matthew Quick (Goodreads)
*At first this wasn’t on the list, but I found out that’s because they didn’t think they could include a read aloud book. I was told to add it to the list because it’s a great book.**

Boy21

1st Hour Book Love

After reading Cindy’s blog post about the ALA awards, I came up with the idea to ask my students which books are their favorites and deserve awards.  I asked my 1st-3rd hour to list books they read and loved in 2012.  I expressed that it’s great if they’re 2012 releases, but it’s okay if they’re not.  With the help of my fabulous cadet teacher (senior class student who plans on becoming a teacher), Tristan, I have the top books listed for each class.  I’m posting the 1st hour results today, and I’ll post the next two class results over the next two days.

Top Choice: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
**Side note–A few students cheered when I told them this was the top choice 1st hour**

If I Lie

What students said about If I Lie (Goodreads):

“I listed this book because she stayed true to her friend no matter how badly it affected her.” -Trista

“It’s touching and super cute.” -Kaelyn

Honorary Titles:

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Goodreads)

I Hunt Killers final

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach (Goodreads)
“It’s just good all-around” -Joe (a very to the point answer :))

Stupid Fast

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Goodreads)
“I love how she slowly uncovers everything.” -Katie

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (Goodreads)

Embrace

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Goodreads)
**Side note–This class is very excited about the third book releasing & this being made into a movie.**

Divergent

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Goodreads)
“It’s different and not predictable at all.” -Kara

Miss-Peregrines-Home-for-Peculiar-Children

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (Goodreads)

Shut Out

Crank by Ellen Hopkins (Goodreads)

crank

Looking for Alaska by John Green (Goodreads)
**Side note–Announcing this title sparked a lot of debate because some loved it and others didn’t like it at all.**

“I love the Before and After because it allows us to see how Pudge handles everything **avoiding spoiler** after.” -Hannah B.

cover-of-looking-for-alaska

Review: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Title: A Midsummer’s Nightmare

Author: Kody Keplinger

Publisher: Poppy

Release Date: June 5th, 2012

Interest: Author

Source: ARC received at NCTE

Summary (From Goodreads): Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger’s most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

Kody Keplinger knows how to write engrossing stories.  I probably should have waited to read A Midsummer’s Nightmare until summer break started because I didn’t want to stop reading it!  I loved The Duff and really enjoyed Shut Out, but A Midsummer’s Nightmare is now my favorite.

I’m impressed with Kody Keplinger’s ability to take touchy subjects like Whitley’s and handle them with so much care.  Whitley drinks and parties too much, and often fools around with too many guys.  It’s earned her a reputation.  In the beginning of the book, Whitley doesn’t care all that much about what she does or what people think of her.  It’s not until she’s spending the summer with her dad and his new family in a new small town that Whitley really starts to second-guess how she’s acting.  Kody Keplinger didn’t write a novel preaching to teens about how to behave, but it’s easy to learn what not to do by watching Whitley’s actions.

Whitley isn’t always the most likeable character because she’s so self-destructive, but it’s also easy to see how much potential she has.  Is her road to changing her ways an easy one?  No, and it shouldn’t be.  If Kody Keplinger had written a book where the protagonist becomes a new and better person with the snap of your fingers then she wouldn’t have written a believable book.  I know people like Whitley and I know how difficult it was for them to see what they were doing to themselves and change that behavior.  I appreciate Keplinger for writing such a real character.

Much of Whitley’s anger and actions stem from the dissolution of her parents’ marriage and her relationship with them since the divorce.  I couldn’t stand either of her parents when I was reading A Midsummer’s Nightmare, and I’m sure that was her point when writing this book.  It’s apparent that both her mom and dad care about her, but it’s also apparent that both of them are too self-involved to care as much as they should.  The sad fact is, there are too many parents out there who aren’t involved in their children’s lives.  Kudos to Kody Keplinger for tackling two big issues in one book!

If you haven’t read The Duff or Shut Out yet, I recommend starting with A Midsummer’s NightmareKody Keplinger is a talented young author in the YA world, and her writing is only getting stronger.  I can’t wait to read her next book!

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Kody Keplinger Shut Out

273 pp.  Poppy (Little, Brown and Company).  2011

Source: Purchased

Summary (From the publisher): Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it’s a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy’s car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend’s attention. Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players’ girlfriends go on a hookup strike.

I’ve been reading mixed reviews on Shut Out, but since I loved The DUFF so much I had high hopes for Keplinger’s second novel.  I enjoyed Shut Out, but it’s missing the Wow! factor I was hoping to find.

I want to start on a positive note first–Shut Out has a pretty good message for girls.  Yes, this book is about a hookup strike, but the girls end up discussing more than just sex.  They have conversations about the double standards and trying to navigate through them.  They have conversations about being nervous about having a sexual relationship and how they should be able to discuss that.  There are discussions about how no one is being honest with them, as teens, about sex.  For instance, Lissa points out multiple times how she wishes her mom was around to give her advice about sex and relationships.  I remember back in high school how I would come home with questions for my mom to answer so I could go back and tell my friends what she said.  Thankfully I have a mom who was honest with me, and since my friends new that but didn’t feel comfortable asking their moms, I ended up being a go-to person.  Fortunately the questions never got too weird or personal, because no matter how close I was with my mom, I didn’t want to ask her too much when I was in high school!  I bring this up because I know there are still girls in high school who are feeling lost and confused when it comes to dating, relationships, and sex.  I like that Kody Keplinger brings up this issue in Shut Out.

I wasn’t sure how much sex to expect in Shut Out.  I was surprised, and a little bit happy, to discover that besides talking about sex, there really aren’t any sex scenes.  There are make out scenes, and a couple get on the heavier side of things, but I didn’t feel any of it was over the top.  I was actually more upset by how the girls talk about sex.  I know teenagers–guys and girls–can be pretty foul when they’re speaking with their friends, but there were times, especially at the beginning of the novel, when I found myself cringing over the flippant use of f-bombs.  Normally that doesn’t phase me, but I started to feel like it was included to be shocking, but I’m sure that wasn’t Keplinger’s intention.  Maybe I’m getting older, but just because there are teens talking about sex in a scene, doesn’t mean there has to be swearing for it to be believable.  For the record, I’m completely okay with characters that swear because I know that’s real life in many cases.  In Shut Out, and more in the beginning of the novel than any other part, I just didn’t think it was necessary for Chloe and others to drop f-bombs quite that much.

I predict that Shut Out will be a popular choice with my girls in class.  There are more positives than negatives, but I wanted to give a taste of both in my review.  At times I found the story dragging, but I’m happy I read it.  While Lissa is a character that definitely obsesses over everything, I did find myself liking her and the leader she becomes.  Lissa reminds me of Bianca from The DUFF in the sense that they’re both characters of extremes and I’m sure many will either hate her or love her.  Shut Out handles issues like sex and relationships, friendships, and letting one’s guard down very well.  I’m looking forward to what my students will say once they’ve had a chance to read Keplinger’s second novel.

 

Book Trailer Thursday (33)

Raise your hand if you loved Kody Keplinger’s debut novel The DUFF as much as I did!  I haven’t yet read her new release Shut Out, but I can’t wait to start it.  The trailer for Shut Out released recently, so it’s the perfect fit for today’s Book Trailer Thursday.

P.S. Is it just me, or does the cover model look like Liv Tyler?

Summary (From Goodreads): Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it’s a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy’s car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend’s attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players’ girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won’t get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don’t count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

 

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