Saturday, June 1, 2013

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown is a two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award for her weekly humor column that appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist. She is the author of Perfect Escape; Bitter End, which received two starred reviews and was named an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults title; and Hate List, which received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Brown's new novel is Thousand Words.

Last month I asked the author about what she was reading.  Her reply:
I’m trying to read 100 books this year, just as a little personal challenge, and my year has been off to a great start. I’ve read quite a few really wonderful books.

I am currently reading Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I don’t know why it took me so long to discover the Stargirl books, but I am so glad I did. I read Stargirl earlier this year and fell in love with the funky, carefree Stargirl character and the beautiful life lessons she gives. At the same time, my heart broke for her a little bit, as the people around her stop appreciating her originality and seek to turn her into everyone else. While I’m only a few pages into the second book, already I’m loving hearing Stargirl’s voice itself, a pure and warm invitation into her thoughts, which are as deep and lovely as always.

I just finished The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, by Teddy Wayne, a humorous-even-in-its-sadness look into the life behind the stage persona of an eleven year old pop sensation. I enjoyed the authenticity of this book, and found myself coming away with a bit of sympathy for child and teen stars, who may only look like they have it all.

One of my favorite recent reads was Reality Boy by A.S. King. I happened to score an advanced copy, and gobbled it up within a day. What I love most about A.S. King’s books (and Reality Boy is definitely no exception) is their fearlessness of voice. King’s characters are edgy and, at times, uncomfortably real—but discomfort tells me growth is happening, both within the characters and within myself as a reader. Reality Boy is a story about a teen who is infamous for his appearance on a reality nanny show when he was a little boy, and his attempt to escape the stigma that has followed him ever since the show aired. I predict great things for this book.

Some other books I’ve enjoyed in recent months are Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (unique, creative, and funny), The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (tragic, but captivating), and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (which I actually listened to on audio, the reader so wonderful I felt like giving him a standing ovation when it was over).

(Note: I am keeping track of my 100 books here.

(Note #2: Yes, I know I’m behind! So many great books, so little time!)
Visit Jennifer Brown's website.

Writers Read: Jennifer Brown (October 2009).

Read: Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Brown & Ursula and Aragorn.

--Marshal Zeringue