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July 21st, 2014

This summer, Penguin is hosting the first ever Penguin YA Summer Readathon – 6 weeks, 6 Penguin YA titles, and 6 of the most influential young BookTubers online! Here’s how it works:

What’s more, we have 6 amazing prize packages to give away – one per week – each of which contains the 6 titles below, a Penguin passport case and some suncream, so you’ll be fully prepared for you hols, whether at home or away!

Readathon titles:

21st July – Anywhere by Jon Robinson hosted by Benjamin of Tomes
28th July – Winger by Andrew Smith
4th August – Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid
11th August – Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
18th August – Half Bad by Sally Green
25th August – Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

This week, watch Booktuber Benjamin of Tomes review Anywhere here, and then answer the following question as a post underneath the video:

In Anywhere, Alyn, Jes, Ryan and Elsa have a special talent; they can control the world around them. What would you do if you had this talent just for one day? (Please keep you answer to a maximum 150 characters)

When you’re done, why not check out some of our amazing Spinebreaker reviews for Anywhere by clicking on the image below:

 

 


July 17th, 2014

When we decided to run a competition with Keri Smith, we were expecting good entries, but not the masses of fantastic ones that flooded in! We had colourful ones, ones with words, 3D ones, ones that had clearly taken hours to complete. They were all truly unique and beautiful, and every single person who entered our competition should be proud of the work that they produced.

However, we did have the difficult task of picking not one, not two, but THREE brilliant entries to win the entire Keri Smith backlist. Congratulations to our winners, who will be receiving their prizes shortly. Check out their fantastic entries below, and to see the rest of the entries, have a look at our facebook page.

Well done competition winners!

 

 

 

 

 

 


July 16th, 2014

Here at Spinebreakers HQ, we love a good quiz. Can you match the quotes to the books that they come from? Answers at the bottom – no peeking! Let us know in the comments how many you got right!

1. ” I didn’t know that idiocy caused people to start spontaneously bleeding from the nose.”

A – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

B – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

C – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

 

2. “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 

A – The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

B – Paper Towns by John Green

C – If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

 

3. “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

A – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

B – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

C – Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

 

4. “I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”

A – Shiver by Maggie Steifvater

B – Matched by Ally Condie

C – Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

 

5. “Ever had a flying burrito hit you? Well it’s actually a deadly projectile, right up there with cannonballs and grenades.” 

A – Percy Jackson and The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

B – Holes by Louis Sachar

C – Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

 

6. “Do your kind even know what love is? Can you feel anything at all, or is it just…programmed?” 

A – Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

B – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

C – Coraline by Neil Gaiman

 

7. “It’s a lot easier to be lost than found. It’s the reason we’re always searching and rarely discovered – so many locks, not enough keys.” 

A – Speak by Laurie Halse Andersen

B – Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

C – Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

 

8. “I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” 

A – Gone by Michael Grant

B – The Selection by Kiera Cass

C – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 

9. “Nothing like passing an arcane literary debate with your tyrannical master while you pass the time leading to your execution.” 

A – Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

B – Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

C – Control by Lydia Kang

 

10. “Be a little kinder than you have to.”

A – Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

B – We Were Liars by E. Lockheart

C – DUFF by Kody Keplinger

 

 

Answers! 

1. “I didn’t know that idiocy caused people to just start spontaneously bleeding from the nose.”  B – Allegiant by Veronica Roth 

2.  “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”  A – The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak 

3. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” B – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

4. “I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”  C – Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

5. “Ever had a flying burrito hit you? Well, it’s a deadly projectile, right up there with cannonballs and grenades.” A – Percy Jackson and The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan 

6. “Do your kind even know what love is? Can you feel anything at all, or is it just… programmed?”  B – Cinder by Marissa Meyer 

7. “It’s a lot easier to be lost than found. It’s the reason we’re always searching and rarely discovered–so many locks not enough keys.”  C – Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen 

8. “I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”  C – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

9. “Nothing like an arcane literary debate with your tyrannical master while you pass the time leading to your execution.”  A – Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 

10.  “Be a little kinder than you have to” B – We Were Liars by E.Lockheart. 

 

 


July 15th, 2014

Who here loves doughnuts? Well, Justin Gellatly does too, and is famed for his amazing doughnut recipes. One lucky Spinebreaker got to visit him in his bakery in Borough Market – see how Lily got on! 

I adore cooking and baking, and recently I got the chance to go to Justin Gellatly’s new bakery in Borough Market, which is famous for its doughnuts and breads and other yummy things of a baked nature. I was hoping to sample some of these famous doughnuts, but unfortunately it was not to be. However, Justin did give us a demonstration of how to make his ginger cake, and then (in true Blue Peter fashion) produced one he’d made earlier for us to sample. Oh my goodness it was the BEST cake I have ever eaten, and I don’t even like ginger that much! It was light and fluffy and dense and moist all at the same time, and it tasted of ginger but not too much – it was like some kind of drug cake it was that addictive. I don’t know what he does to it but it was FANTASTIC. I seriously recommend everyone goes down to the Bread Ahead bakery and gets themselves some of it. On second thoughts, don’t, as there’ll be less for me.

But before that, Justin taught us all how to make Soda bread. All the other people were really experienced food bloggers andjournalists, and looked a bit put out at my presence, and to be honest they were very intimidating with their fancy cameras and thoughtful questions about technical things, but they were very friendly as well. Making the bread was really fun – Justin showed us how to mix it all up, and gave us helpful tips like “cut the cross in the top with a knife otherwise you will flatten the top and it won’t rise” and “always mix with only one hand in case the phone goes” (which is all well and good, but when you have tiny hands that can’t mix very well on their own like me it is easier said than done).

Whilst the breads were baking, he gave us a tour of the bakery. It was really interesting! They had all sorts of different mixing machines that fit, like, two tonnes of dough in them, and did all different things. He showed us the massive ovens the like of which I’ve only ever seen on the Food Network, and are really big and intimidating! There were all these sacks of flour in the middle of the flour, towering in massive teetering piles and big bags of sugar and “liquid egg” which is just eggs all smooshed together, as far as I could see. We also saw the fridge full of sourdough bread all proving, and in different stages of development. Justin showed us all of the sourdough starters too, all different flavours but then I left the fridge because it was freezing cold in there!

Finally the bread came out of the oven, and mine looked really good! It was the best bread I think I’ve ever made, and Justin said he would sell it in his shop – although I think he was just being nice, it wasn’t that good! And then, sadly, it was time to go. Ever thoughtful, Justin gave us really nice blackberry jam for our bread, a scraper thing for scraping (I have no idea what it does but it looks really cool) and some more of that AMAZING cake! And in a cool John Le Carré tote bag! Thank you very much Justin Gellatly – and be expecting a visit to your bakery soon. I’m running dangerously low on ginger cake.


July 10th, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars is the 21st century Titanic. Not because of the content (the two couldn’t be more different) but the reaction that they received on their theatrical run. Tissues were passed out at TFIOS screening before the film begun and as the ending credits rolled, the majority of the audience had used them in full supply. This part of most reviews about the film, I can assure you, is very real and not just fueled by the book’s core fan base. It’s a story that has clearly resented outside of the YA category and that boils down to the relatability of author John Green’s characters.

17-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is very much the Rose of 2014, and Augustus ‘Gus’ Waters (Ansel Elgort) is this generation’s Jack Dawson who sunk into oceanic depths way back in 1997. The two, one a cancer sufferer and the other a cancer survivor, meet at a support group for other kids coping with various cancerous illness. It doesn’t take long before a bond is formed between the couple and they become inseparable.

TFIOS is no doubt a sweet film. It’s coated in a type of innocence that is hard to find when dealing with fairly deep topics – life, mortality; terminal illness. There are moments that leave you with something to think about after, particularly when Hazel’s mum Frannie (Laura Dern) is on screen. A mother having to struggle with the thought that, most likely, she will outlive her child by decades is harrowing. Her parental plight was one I was fully involved with and wished there was more of.

The issue with The Fault In Our Stars isn’t with anything that is easier to find criticism in (direction, acting, etc.); it all falls back to the foundation of the story which is Hazel and Gus’ relationship. You’re meant to root for the couple from the offset, without hesitation, but their love is really built upon a self-indulgent quirkiness that was also a major issue in the book. Gus’s metaphorical cigarette, the clapping that proceeds after Gus and Hazel kiss for the first time; the dialogue – it’s all elements out of a Sundance-screened film that strip away any kind of connection you could have had. None of it seems overtly real and as a viewer you’re forced into a corner where you’re given cues to cry at this point, then that.

In an attempt to condense everything into a two hour film, their romance is even more rushed than its original source material; playing up to a teenage awkwardness that feels far too unnatural. Witty lines sprinkled throughout don’t equal to any kind of emotional attachment and it left me feeling like I’d just stared into the soulless eyes of Edward Cullen (yet again) for far too long.

While TFIOS didn’t leave me in a blubbering mess on a weekday afternoon (and for those of you who weren’t so lucky, it will get better, I promise), it is a cute enough film that will have no problem appealing to fans of the book and those who haven’t chanced across it. Sure, it’s not for me, but who am I to say that it isn’t for anyone else?