February 10th, 2012


Poetry Friday: Piano by D.H. Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

- Piano by D.H. Lawrence

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SparkLife: First Crushes

This piece was originally published in SparkLife in February 2009.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, love is definitely in the air - and on the page! Over the next few weeks, I'll be publishing a series of Valentine-ish blogs spotlighting books for the hopeful romantics out there as well as for the cynics and the skeptics. Books for girls, books for guys, classic picks, personal favorites, silly stories, deep thoughts - a little something for everyone.

Today, we're talking about first crushes. They can make you float on air one minute and crash back down to the ground to the next. The following books all deal with first loves - and some with first heartbreaks.

What My Mother Doesn't Know, a verse novel by Sonya Sones, chronicles the ups and downs of Sophie's first crush. And second. And maybe her third. Don't let the title scare you into thinking the book is racy or that the main character's a rebel - the book's very sweet and tame. Sophie's fifteen years old and just trying to navigate her way through the halls of high school and heartache. To learn what happens next, pick up What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, the sequel told from Robin's point of view. It's really neat to see the relationship from both the girl's POV and the guy's. Learn more about this book and other awesome verse novels.

I really liked the In the Cards trilogy by Mariah Fredericks. Three eighth-grade girls inherit an elderly lady's tarot cards and pet cats when she passes away. Each girl narrates one of the books. Though they are best friends, they are very different. Anna, who is pretty shy, is a member of the school choir; Eve wants to be a famous actress; and Syd, the piano player, is having family troubles that she keeps secret. The first volume is aptly titled Love and told from Anna's perspective. When she gets her first boyfriend, she's nervous and excited, but does he really like her, or is she more in love with the idea of love? Make sure to read the In the Cards trilogy in order:

Love - Read my mini-review!
Fame - Read my full-length book review!
Life - Read my full-length book review!

It's spy time! The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter is packed with action, adventure - and dating. Cammie can speak 14 different languages, but she's never asked a boy out in any of them. She goes to an all-girls school for spies-in-training, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her mom (and find out what happened to her dad). In the first book, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You,, Cammie meets a nice boy in town. She totally falls for him, but she can't tell him she's a spy, so she has to make up this ridiculous story about who she is and why she has to sneak around to see him. I recommend The Gallagher Girls books to people who like funny misadventures in life and romance, like The Princess Diaries. I also recommend it to adults who liked the TV show Moonlighting. The drama (and comedy) continues throughout the series:

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover
Only the Good Spy Young
Out of Sight, Out of Time

Read my review of the entire series.

What if your parents told you that you couldn't go out on a date at all? That's what happens to Patti in Good Enough by Paula Yoo. Her parents would rather she study and play the violin than go out with boys. They want her to set her sights on college, especially Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, but Patti's setting her sights on the Cute Trumpet Boy in her orchestra. This is another cute take on swerving around strict parental guidelines - without being completely disrespectful to said parents - to go out on a date. It's very funny and very real. Read my full-length review of Good Enough by Paula Yoo.

Last but not least: the First Kiss (Then Tell) anthology published by Bloomsbury and edited by Cybil Busby. Twenty-five prominent YA authors share their real-life stories about their first kisses. Some will make you laugh out loud. Others will make you groan at the embarrassing or gross moments that are shared. One story is even drawn like a comic. The author line-up includes Deb Caletti, Cecil Castellucci, Lauren Myracle, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Shannon and Dean Hale, Donna Jo Napoli, Sarah Mlynowski, Leslie Margolis, Robin Wasserman, Micol Ostow, Niki Burnham, Jon Scieszka, and David Levithan.

Who was your first crush?