December 18th, 2008

readergirlz, postergirlz

Readergirlz End-of-the-Year Celebrations

For more information contact:
Sara Easterly, Publicist for readergirlz
Sara Easterly & Friends,

Thousands of teens influenced by the organization in its mission to promote teen literacy

Dec. 18, 2008 (Seattle, Wash.) - As 2008 draws to a close, readergirlz (rgz) reflects on a year of successes in its quest to promote teen literacy and leadership in girls. Wrapping up its second year, the organization has many successes to celebrate:
  • Receiving a distinguished 2007 James Patterson PageTurner Grant.
  • Partnering with 20 book publishers to give 10,000 books to teens patients in hospitals across the United States and Canada as part of rgz Operation TBD.
  • Launching rgz TV (, a series of candid interviews with award-winning authors the likes of Sonya Sones, Paula Yoo, John Green and Sarah Dessen.
  • Hosting more than a dozen celebrated authors in nightly themed chats as part of rgz Night Bites - a celebration of Young Adult Library Services Association's (YALSA's) Teen Read Week™. The accompanying book trailer was viewed more than 6,600 times.
  • Expanding with a new franchise named readertotz, a unique board book blog that aims to raise awareness of the infant toddler book as a significant format of children's literature.
  • Bringing new divas into the mix: Melissa Walker, author of the popular and award-winning Violet series (Violet on the Runway, Violet by Design, and Violet in Private); and Holly Cupala, debut novelist of the tentatively titled A Light That Never Goes Out (HarperCollins, 2010).
  • Creating the rgz salon, a book-reviewing collective of several esteemed names in young-adult literature: Nancy Pearl, NPR Book Lust Reviewer/librarian; Rene Kirkpatrick, Book Buyer/Seller at Third Place Books in Seattle; Sharon Levin, librarian; and Judy Nelson, librarian and past president of YALSA.
  • Receiving a "Best Web Site Award" by the American Library Association's Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC).
  • Speaking at the Washington and Oregon Library Media Association Convention, the YPulse Conference, the Kidlit Blogging Conference, and on a panel with Colleen Mondor from GuysLitWire to YALSA librarians about engaging teens to read through social networks.
  • Being featured in a READ poster with nationwide distribution.
  • Garnering coverage in GalleyCat, Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf, Fuse #8, School Library Journal and Christian Science Monitor.
  • Most notable, rgz has touched the lives of thousands of teen readers. The organization has more than 8,500 friends on its MySpace profile (, with more than 50,000 views, along with over 3,000 views on its new blog ( The rgz website ( attracts more than 400 unique visitors per week and 1,800 unique visitors each month.
"I love being a part of readergirlz," said one forum regular. "I feel so special! I feel like I finally belong somewhere, finally!"

"I love reading even more now since you girls have inspired me!!!" said another readergirl.

Looking ahead to 2009, rgz isn't planning on slowing down:
  • Operation TBD will be back by popular demand—the organization is currently accepting book and audiobook donations from publishers to distribute in April to thousands of teens in hospitals as part of Operation TBD '09.
  • Several of the rgz divas will speak at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in April.
  • Blogging teen dynamo Miss Erin ( will head up a rgz Street Team dedicated to contributing young adult book reviews.
  • Renowned blogger Shelf Elf ( will join the postergirlz.
  • rgz will be announcing an exciting partnership with GuysLitWire (
  • Mitali Perkins will transition to rgz Talent Scout to keep tabs on the latest industry buzz.
  • readertotz founders Lorie Ann Grover and Joan Holub will contribute weekly blog posts that feature the best contributions in the board-book arena and recommend monthly community service projects appropriate for families with young children to enjoy.
About readergirlz

readergirlz is the foremost online book community for teen girls, led by five critically acclaimed YA authors - Dia Calhoun (Avielle of Rhia), Holly Cupala (A Light That Never Goes Out), Lorie Ann Grover (On Pointe), Justina Chen Headley (Girl Overboard), and Melissa Walker (the Violet series). readergirlz is the recipient of a 2007 James Patterson PageTurner Award.

To promote teen literacy and leadership in girls, readergirlz features a different YA novel and corresponding community service project every month. For more information about readergirlz, please visit and or contact

© 2008 readergirlz


Author Spotlight: Catherine Clark

Catherine Clark writes comedies, dramas, and dramedies for teens. She also lists her cat as her hero. That earns her even more points in my book, no pun intended.

My favorite Clark novel is her most serious:

The Alison Rules

"You're begging her?" [Laurie] asked. "You'll have to work up to that. That's one of the Alison rules."

"Alison rules?" Patrick repeated.

"Yeah. Don't worry - you'll find out," Laurie said.

After Alison's mother passes away, she is reluctant to confide in anyone other that her long-time best friend Laurie. Alison decides to play it safe, rather than be sorry later.

Continue to read my review of The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark at Bildungsroman.

Check out my blog post at SparkLife about The Alison Rules.

Wish You Were Here

Before leaving for her summer road trip with her family, there are a few things Ariel has to do:

1) Go to Target (she's been there five times in two days to prepare for her trip)
2) Pack up her Skittles (she has six bags stashed in her desk drawer)
3) Say good-bye to her "semi-new, semi-boyfriend" Dylan (they've been dating for two weeks)
4) Temporarily give her cat to her paternal grandparents (Gloves can't come on their trip)
5) Stock up on postcards and stamps (so she can write to Dylan, her friend Sarah, and, yes, even Gloves)

Continue to read my review of Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark.

Three of my favorite Clark comedies have been reprinted with new titles and new covers:

Better Latte Than Never (previously published as Frozen Rodeo)

A teenage girl's summer adventures include being chased by a crazy dog, working at the local Gas 'n' Git with a guy who thinks he's Bono, and attending a summer school French course taught by substitutes who don't actually know the language.

Written in first person present tense, Better Latte Than Never (previously published as Frozen Rodeo) focuses on a teenager named Peggy. Middle name, Fleming. Her father is an amateur figure skater turned real estate agent and her mother is a very pregnant weather forecaster. Due to her father's career, the children all have been named in honor of famous skaters. The five year old twins are named Torvill and Dean. The quiet and thoughtful three year old is called Dorothy. That in itself is sure to crack up any skating fan - but wait, there's more.

Peggy, who opts to go by Fleming, has a very interesting summer. After getting into multiple car accidents - in which she remains unscathed, but sadly cannot say the same for the vehicles - she is no longer allowed to drive and gets a job at the local Gas 'n' Git to pay her father back. Meanwhile, she takes a French class taught by a string of unqualified substitutes, fights her attraction for the cute waiter at IHOP, befriends a girl named Charlotte with a wild streak and bickers with her co-worker, Denny, who has an obsession with U2 and often attempts to look, sound and act like his idol, Bono.

Anyone who has ever lived in a small town and dreamed of getting out of it will echo Fleming's thoughts about her city; anyone who has felt pressured to take care of their younger siblings will sympathize with her family plight.

With a solid ending that ties every subplot and character together, I give this book a perfect score.

Banana Splitsville (previously published as Truth or Dairy)
Rocky Road Trip (previously published as Wurst Case Scenario)

Courtney Von Dragen Smith thought everything was going well for her. She had a great boyfriend, a job at a cool cafe with her best friend, and a family that was somewhat average, somewhat odd (depending on the family member). Senior year was about to begin, with great promise.

Then her boyfriend went to college and broke up with her. Then her dog ran away. Repeatedly. In an effort to minimize the chaos surrounding her, she makes two huge decisions: she will stop dating, and she will become vegan.

Easier said than done. She falls on and off the vegan wagon on a fairly regular basis, temped by tasty treats at the Truth or Dairy cafe. Her dog runs away again. Her classmates give her grief. Her brother sets his sights on her best friend. Courtney describes these and other melodramas in her diary, making for easy-to-follow laugh-out-loud stories.

Her freshman year of college is chronicled in the sequel. Rocky Road Trip is just as good if not better than the first, and it is also written as a diary.

Additional Titles
Maine Squeeze
Icing on the Lake
So Inn Love
Picture Perfect

Visit Catherine Clark's website and blog.

Also visit the website of Sasha Illingworth, whose artwork is featured on the covers of Maine Squeeze, Icing on the Lake, Banana Splitsville, Rocky Road Trip, Better Latte Than Never, and Picture Perfect. She has also provided the art and/or design for many other book covers you'll recognize.
Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell, knowing

Newest SparkLife Posts

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I blog about books at SparkLife. I hope you'll check out my most recent posts and reviews over there!

* The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark (a must-read which I feel is severely overlooked and underrated)

* Never Mind the Goldbergs by Matthue Roth (Go Hava go)

* Perfect, Lush, and Bounce by Natasha Friend (Tic-tac-toe, three great books in a row)
Fringe, contemplative, swing

The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark

When readergirlz asked me to select three titles "for the girl who has read every book in the library" (aka overlooked treasures) for my readergirlz bookmark, (1) I immediately knew I would include The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark. I read the book when it was first released in 2004 and have praised it ever since. I've spoken about it during booktalks in stores and schools and at conferences. I've included it in many booklists and blog posts. (See the end of this post for links.) This poignant story gets my highest recommendation.

After her mother passes away, Alison is reluctant to confide in anyone other than Laurie, her long-time best friend. She pulls away from pretty much everyone else and decides to quietly lives by the rules she's made for herself.

Enter Patrick Kirk, the new guy in school. The three students bond when they work together on the school newspaper. The outspoken Laurie starts calling her new buddy "Patrick Kirkpatrick" and jokes around with him very easily. Though Alison starts to like Patrick, she doesn't want to say or do anything because Laurie has a crush on him, and she puts Laurie's happiness before her own. Alison and Laurie's friendship isn't put into jeopardy by Patrick's arrival. If anything, his presence further defines Alison's character.

Meanwhile, Alison continues keeps her feelings to herself. She also keeps all of her stuff in her backpack rather than ever using her locker. Kuz why? (2) You'll have to read the book to find out.

Read it, then share it - but don't spoil it. Those are the rules. Truly, do not let anyone spoil the book's major events for you. Just get the book and read it, then come back to this post and discuss it with me.

One of My Favorite Passages

"You're begging her?" [Laurie] asked. "You'll have to work up to that. That's one of the Alison rules."

"Alison rules?" Patrick repeated.

"Yeah. Don't worry - you'll find out," Laurie said.

- Page 27

(1) Wondering which other titles I selected for my readergirlz bookmark? The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando and Swollen by Melissa Lion. It was only after I confirmed my choices that I realized all three books dealt with loss, grief, and acceptance. (If you do get those three books - and I hope you do - make sure to also pick up The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen while you're at it.) Download the readergirlz bookmarks!

(2) Kuz Why? Ask Laurie. She'll tell you.

Related Posts and Links
Booklist: More to Life, or, Bigger Than a Breadbox
Booklist: Coming-of-Age Novels aka Bildungsromans
Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens
Author Spotlight: Catherine Clark
Book Review: Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark
SparkLife: The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark
Tag: Wicked Cool Overlooked Books
January 2008 WCOB roundup at Chasing Ray