Jessica McClintock is So 1998

Forget the limo, corsage, mediocre chicken dinner ... every girl knows that when it comes to prom, only two things matter: the dress and the date. Quigley and Ann have a plan for their formal wear: working as many odd jobs as they can get to save up for the most gorgeous gowns frozen-pizza-factory money can buy. As for boys? Ann always has a few names on her dance card, but Quigley is a little less sure of who she might want to slow dance with. That is, until Ann's mom hires the girls to work as fit models for her fashion design class at RISD. Art student Xander is cute, sweet, and (supposedly) straight—a potential prom date and dress designer all in one. But is he the one for Quigley?

Will Work for Prom Dress is funny and cute, if a bit sold short by its title. There are other things going on, like Quigley's struggle to get into her dream college and Ann's less-than-perfect relationships with her famous parents. It does all start to come a bit unraveled toward the end, but overall this is a fun read and one that I would recommend if you're looking for something more than the usual cookie-cutter characters.

Reviewed from an ARC sent by the publisher.


Happy New Year

Merry 2011 to you all! And bonus well wishes to anyone who can name the book that contains one of my most favorite NYE scenes:

We cleaned the house, finished making the snacks and dessert, and decorated the living room. Mom pulled out a box filled with corny New Year's stuff—funny hats, horns, even a cardboard baby wearing a diaper, and a banner. The banner read, "1979." I hung it on the wall anyway, since I thought it was cool.

My night (according to the text message invite I received yesterday) will be filled with "hangouts, wine, and a whole roast chicken." Until then, I will be doing laundry and reading Mary Anne's Revenge from the BSC Friends Forever spin-off series, which I just received via Paperback Swap. Buona sera!


Crooked Spin Can't Come to Rest

OK, so kind of a break from our regularly scheduled YA books / girlytime programming.

I got an email from Amazon.com announcing the release of an Elliott Smith "greatest hits" collection of sorts being put out by Kill Rock Stars. From about age 19 to 22, I was pretty much obsessed with Elliott Smith. Then he died. I guess I'd still consider him my favorite musician of all time if you forced me to pick one.

So here's their track list:
01 Ballad of a Big Nothing
02 Waltz #2
03 Pictures of Me
04 The Biggest Lie
05 Alameda
06 Between The Bars
07 Needle In The Hay
08 Last Call
09 Angeles
10 Twilight
11 Pretty (Ugly Before)
12 Angel In The Snow
13 Miss Misery
14 Happiness

And here are my picks:
01 Last Call (from Roman Candle)
02 Needle in the Hay (from self-titled)
03 The Biggest Lie (from self-titled)
04 Between the Bars (from Either/Or)
05 Angeles (from Either/Or)
06 Say Yes (from Either/Or)
07 Miss Misery (BIG HIT from Good Will Hunting)
08 Waltz #2 (from XO)
09 Son of Sam (from Figure 8)
10 Everything Means Nothing to Me (from Figure 8)
11 Happiness (From Figure 8)
12 Pretty -Ugly Before- (from Basement on the Hill)
13 A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free (from Basement on the Hill)

They didn't do bad. But not including Say Yes—my all-time favorite of ever? Big mistake. Huge. And also, I never realized how '90s he looked. Love you, Elliott, seven years later.


Nothing's Better than Friends

New in my Etsy shop: Say Hello to Your Friends, a Baby-sitters Club fanzine! This one has been in the works for a long time, but I just now finally got around to folding and stapling. For more information or to order, click here and visit the Welsh Rabbit shop.

From the introduction: "One of the last courses I took for my Master’s program in Library & Information Science was called Resources for Children … For one of our final assignments, we were to select a 'resource' (book, series, movie, song, etc.) that we loved as a child and reflect on the experience of revisiting it as an adult. Of course I had to write about the Baby-sitters Club. What follows is the actual text of the paper I turned in to my professor."


Here Comes the Bride

Brownwen Oliver was switched at birth. At least, that's what she likes to tell herself. How else to explain the perfect, Jesus-like brother, the mom who dyed Bronwen's hair blond at 13, and all the disgusting ketchup-eating that goes on in their house? Back when her dad was alive, Bronwen felt like part of a real family. Now that he's gone and her mother has remarried, she's sure she must belong somewhere else.

Enter Jared Sondervan. The summer after 11th grade, Bronwen falls in love with the cute, romantic college student, who happens to have a completely nice and normal family. He proposes to Bronwen on her 18th birthday, and she says yes! There's no rush for them to get married ... until suddenly there is. Now Bronwen has to decide between college life and married life, her life and her-life-with-Jared.

Somewhere around chapter 4, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else really grabbed ahold of me. The progression of Bronwen and Jared's relationship is so natural that it almost makes sense for her to accept a marriage proposal before starting her senior year of high school. Even when in real life I would advise anyone against doing so. Thankfully, both Bronwen and Jared's parents provide the "You're So Young" argument, lest the reader worry that no one in this book realizes They're So Young.

What none of the characters mention is what I think of as the whole "Getting Married ASAP So We Can Have Sex" phenomenon. Early in the book, Bronwen is dumped by another boyfriend because she won't do it with him, and later on she makes it clear to Jared that she doesn't want to have sex outside of marriage. I don't feel right accusing Jared (a fictional character, I realize) of proposing to Bronwen just so he can sleep with her, but I can't help but wonder if that plays a part in his rush to get married.

So yeah, in spite of the super chick-lit cover, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else is not all bouquets and bows. Bronwen is dealing with identity issues, relationship issues, even daddy/stepfather issues, and author Erin McCahan doesn't shy away from exploring these in depth. You can read the book as a simple romance if you want, but if you're looking for more, it's there too.

P.S. To celebrate the book's blog tour, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is giving away a copy of I Now Pronounce You Someone Else!

Reviewed from an advance copy provided by BookSparks PR.


Virgins and Brains

Scene: My living room
Boyfriend: [Pointing at ARC of Zombies Vs. Unicorns.] So what's the deal with that book, anyway? Is it out yet?
Me: No. It's an advance copy.
Boyfriend: Huh. I feel like there's been a lot of buzz about it.
Me: There HAS been a lot of buzz about it. In our apartment! [Laughs maniacally.]

Or something like that. Apparently I have a talent for (very small) niche marketing, which includes strategically placing books around 1BR apartments in order to project hype to their 30-year-old male inhabitants. But anyway, Zombies Vs. Unicorns is an anthology of 12 short stories edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier in an attempt to answer the "age-old" question: Which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? When Holly Black signed my copy at ALA, she asked which team I was on. Not knowing that she was captain of Team Unicorn, I replied, "Unicorns, but maybe after reading the book I'll be on Team Zombie." Oops.

Now, after careful consideration, I'm kind of torn on the issue. I enjoyed an equal number of unicorn and zombie stories, but it was a unicorn tale—Diana Peterfreund's "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn"—that I loved best. Maybe it's because I was never allowed to have a dog and always fantasized about having a secret pet that I could hide in my closet or sock drawer. Other unicorn faves: "Purity Test" by Naomi Novik (drunken non-virgin saves a litter of baby unicorns) and "Princess Prettypants" by Meg Cabot (girl hoping to get a car for her 16th b-day is gifted a unicorn instead).

Then again, Team Zombie has a lot to offer. Hilarity and an Angelina Jolie-like celebrity from Maureen Johnson ("Children of the Revolution"). Pirates and romance-novel intrigue from Carrie Ryan ("Bougainvillea"). Pop culture and high school crushes from Alaya Dawn Johnson ("Love Will Tear Us Apart").

That's not even mentioning the stories by Scott Westerfeld, Libba Bray, and Cassandra Clare. I'd say it's a win-win situation overall.

On a personal note, I have a new job (yes, as a librarian!) and a new fiance (who was my boyfriend for a long while before that...including during the time when I originally wrote this post!). Both are going to require a lot of my attention over the upcoming months. I'll be blogging as much as is humanly possible, but that may not be as much as I'd like. Check Twitter for updates!


Cup O Noodles

Ramen Girl: A story in pictures, starring Brittany Murphy.