2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 39 books.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

$15.00 GIFT CARD CONTEST and REVIEW and QA from Lara Zielin

For those reading my blog, you know that I am a HUGE Lara Zielin fan. In fact, I have read and ADORED both of her books. I am thrilled to announce that Lara has been kind enough to offer a $15.00 gift Card to Barnes & Nobles for one lucky person.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (don't forget to leave me your email also for one entry). If you blog about it on your own site (or twitter or facebook) you will get 4 additional entries. That's it!!!! Easy, easy. The winner will be chosen by random.org on July 29, 2011. OPEN INTERNATIONALLY.

In the meantime, here is my review of her new book The Implosion of Aggie Winchester (note my 5 star rating).  I have also included a Q&A with Lara.  Enjoy! and don't forget to leave a comment.

TITLE:              The Implosion of Aggie Winchester

AUTHOR:         Lara Zielin

GENRE:            YA

RATING:           5 Stars

Those of you who read my blog regularly might be quite surprised by the 5 star rating, but really, if I could, I would have given this one 10 stars - testimony to how much I loved this novel.

I adored Lara's first book - Donut Days and when I found out that she had written a second book, I was thrilled, especially after she so kindly sent me an ARC to read.

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester is the kind of book that completely freaks me out - mainly because I hated, HATED the main character throughout most of the storyline, all the while finding myself completely incapable of putting the darn book down.  I literally devoured this book and putting it down to do anything else, such as work was a sacrifice.

I suppose I should address the question of why I disliked Aggie, the main character so much.  At first, she sounded like a normal teenager, finding her own clothing style and making her friends her own way - which was fine.  But I quickly discovered, as I read on that Aggie was also completely and totally incapable (or at times unwilling) to communicate thoughts and/or feelings to just about everyone, but more specifically to her own parents.  While this may seem normal to most YA (and their parents) it felt, to me, as though Aggie often pushed it over the line too often, especially when she dealt with her mother and her illness.  My head kept screaming "share your thoughts and feelings", "share your thoughts and feelings", but unfortunately, for a large part of the novel, Aggie doesn't and while this propelled the storyline greatly, it also made me dislike her and left me with a feeling of frustration.

Having said all of this, it is a testimony to the author's great writing style that I found myself still loving (did I mention I loved, loved this book?) the plotline which is clever, frustrating, dramatic and  touching with a little bit of mystery thrown in.

I also loved the way the author slowly shows us other sides of Aggie, as Aggie finds herself dealing with loss in more ways than one, all the while gaining life experience and rediscovering herself and what really matters to her.  In the end, I found myself warming up to Aggie and realizing that maybe her parents and some of her "so called" friends were actually part of the problem - giving me a better understanding of where the Aggie character was coming from.

Of course, a mention must be made of "PROM" which is the issue that basically triggers a whole lot of crazy, reminding me just how nuts everyone in my life got around my own Prom.  Wow, am I glad I don't have to ever physically go through that again, although I love reading about it when its happening to someone else.

This book is a gem and the perfect YA novel - after all, I gave it 5 stars for a reason.

On a personal note, I wanted to thank Lara Zielin for the wonderful inscription she wrote in my copy of the book.  Its advice I am now trying to live by :)

1)  On some level, The Implosion of Aggie Winchester is a somewhat darker novel than Donut Days, do you agree?

Wait, you mean I didn’t send you a book about unicorns and cats that poop rainbows? Oh no!

Just kidding! Yes, Implosion is a lot darker, in part because my main character, Aggie, is so different from the main character in Donut Days, Emma. Emma’s church-oriented existence made it so that it was really hard for her to rebel. Even just wearing a t-shirt with a rock band on it was frowned upon. But Aggie is rebelling in almost every way. She’s dark and angry and so, yes, the book definitely reflects her mood and emotions.

2)  What do you feel is the main reason Aggie decides to go "Goth"?

I think Aggie uses it as a self-defense mechanism. There was a time in her life when she was following all the rules: getting good grades, making friends with the right people, behaving in the right way, etc. But even so, she still got hurt and became an outcast. So instead of sitting around being afraid of people (i.e. being hurt again), she decided to do whatever it took to make people afraid of her.

3)  What inspired you to include bass fishing as one of Aggie's favorite activities?

Great question! In developing the character of Aggie, I wanted her to love something that went completely against her Goth appearance and demeanor. I tried on a bunch of different ideas, but it was the quirkiness of bass fishing—the sheer dirtiness of it, and the fact that she’d probably be one of the only girls out on the water—that made me choose it.

4)  What do you think of Sylvia and Aggie's friendship?

I think they’re both smart and edgy, and that they are struggling to understand their place in the world. I think there’s a point in every friendship when you look at someone you’ve historically been really close to and ask, “Do I want to align myself with this person? Do I like the choices they’re making?” I think that both Aggie and Sylvia wind up asking that of each other.

5)  How would you define the relationship between Aggie and her parents?

To me, the relationship is defined by a lack of listening. Aggie and her parents are saying all sorts of things to each other, but no one’s pausing to either figure out the subtext of what the other person is saying, or to put themselves in the other person’s shoes very much. I'm just realizing, this seems to be a theme in my books...

6)  What are the main differences between Neil and Fitz?

One’s a jerk and one isn’t? How’s that? Okay, kidding again. I love Fitz—he’s one of my most favorite characters ever. He really sees that there’s something underneath all the Goth makeup that Aggie wears. Fitz tries to understand Aggie. Neil, on the other hand, is embarrassed by Aggie. He likes her, but can’t bring himself to like her in public. Jerkface! :P

7)  Would you consider doing a second novel based on Aggie's life?  I, for one, would be curious to know how her life, as well as her parents, continues on after the fallout?

I would love to continue this story! Please write my publisher (Putnam) and tell them that you would, too. Hee.

8)   Why did you choose to write YA?
 I can’t imagine writing anything else. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s what’s in my blood, I’m afraid. I was born to do this.

9)   Can you tell us about some of your heroes?

I look hard for—and try to celebrate—heroes in pop culture, because I think that’s where people’s focus is these days. And so I love, LOVE Tina Fey. She not only writes some of the funniest TV shows and movies, but she’s smart about it. She talks about actual issues and creates well-rounded characters with something to say. I mean, who else could have a show on NBC that constantly makes fun of … NBC? Love it!

I also get really starry-eyed about author David Eggers. Like Tina, he uses his writing powers for good. He started a youth literacy organization called 826 Valencia, and now there are 826 organizations everywhere, including one in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I live. I mean, the guy writes these killer books, and he could totally just sit back and let the literati worship him. But he doesn’t. He goes on, fighting the good fight and penning books like Zeitoun. I want to be a writer who contributes to the greater good like he does!


Unknown said...

Now this could be a good read for me, thanks for the review

Samantha said...

Wow looks excellent!

bermudaonion said...

I was shocked when I saw 5 stars - this one's going on my wish list.

Yan said...

I really enjoyed DONUT DAYS and am too excited to read Lara's next novel.

I've tweeted about the giveaway: http://twitter.com/#!/yanpocky/status/93396111594749953


Margaret Yang said...

I can't wait to read this book!

Linda Nguyen said...

Great post! You don't see a 5-star rating from Tina often at all! =)

I will tweet about it to spread the word. =)

Linda Nguyen said...

on twitter! =)


Donna said...

This book sounds great! This is a new to me author and so another book for my TBR list!

Sharon said...

Thanks for a great review and a chance to win a GC!

sharn3960 @ comcast . net

avisannschild said...

This sounds likes a fantastic book. Great interview too!

I posted about this on Facebook!

Patrice said...

I have this on order for the teens in my Library. Looking forward to reading it myself!

Jasmine1485 said...

I just can't stop reading YA lately! I'd love to read this one too :) Thanks for a great interview and for this giveaway.

P.S. Love Tina Fey too!

kate1485 at hotmail.com

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