Tag Archives: Katherine Applegate

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

‘In any case, Crenshaw had excellent timing.  He came into my life just when I needed him to.  It was a good time to have a friend, even if he was imaginary.’

There have been a few books published recently about imaginary friends.  I have lapped them all up.  I don’t remember having an imaginary friend as a kid but reading these books make me wish I had.  The book that most makes me wish for an imaginary friend Katherine Applegate’s latest book, Crenshaw.  I’m sure you’ll wish you had a friend like Crenshaw once you’ve read this wonderful book too.

Crenshaw_UK.inddJackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

 

Crenshaw, like Katherine Applegate’s previous book The One and Only Ivan, is one of those books that I just want to carry around everywhere and give to everyone.  It is heart-warming story about family and friendships, that will make you want to keep hugging the main character and wanting to hang out with Crenshaw.  Katherine Applegate tugs at your heart-strings and brings a little wonder into your world.

Jackson is not an imaginary friend kind of guy.  He prefers facts and figures.  He doesn’t like stories because they ‘are lies, when you get right down to it.  And I don’t like being lied to.’  His parents have fallen on hard times and they keep telling Jackson and his sister, Robin, that everything is going to be alright.  Deep down Jackson knows that they aren’t going to be alright.  His family had to live in their mini-van for weeks on end when he was younger and he doesn’t want to do that again.  Just when he needs a friend the most, Crenshaw, Jackson’s large, outspoken, imaginary friend shows up to help him to face the truth.

There is so much wisdom in Katherine Applegate’s books.  They’re like guides to how to live your life.  She teaches you about kindness and honesty, and that it’s OK to be yourself.  I always find myself stopping reading to write down little bits of wisdom from her stories.

I love Crenshaw’s voice. He is very opinionated, especially about Jackson’s dog, Aretha, but he has some great lines.  This is one of my favourites,

‘Imaginary friends are like books.  We’re created, we’re enjoyed, we’re dog-eared and creased, and then we’re tucked away until we’re needed again.’

Crenshaw is one of those few books that I’ve read multiple times.  It is a special book and I know that I’ll come back to it again to visit Jackson and Crenshaw.  Adopt Crenshaw yourself and make a new best imaginary friend.

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Crenshaw Book Trailer

Katherine Applegate’s brilliant new book, Crenshaw is released in NZ this month by HarperCollins NZ.  I absolutely loved Katherine’s last book, The One and Only Ivan, and this new book is pretty special.

Check out the book trailer below and grab a copy now:

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Interview with Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate are amazing authors in their own right, but when they combine their talents the result is the exciting, futuristic thriller, Eve and Adam.  They’ve written over 100 books together, including one of the coolest series from my childhood, Animorphs.  I was lucky enough to catch up with Michael and Katherine to ask them a few questions about Eve and Adam, and their collaborative writing process.

How does the collaborative writing process work for the two of you?

MG – Poorly.
KA –  Well, in the past.  Better this time.  It was actually pretty smooth.
MG — I’ve matured.

Did you write a character each for Eve and Adam?

KA –  That was one of the approaches we took, but quickly decided it didn’t work.  In order to do that we would need to be able to plan things out in advance.  Michael doesn’t plan.  I plan and then don’t follow my plan.
MG – The real story is that Katherine realized Eve would have a lot more scenes so she’d have to do more of the work.

Does it make it harder or easier writing collaboratively when you live in the same house?

MG – Much easier.  The commute is shorter.  It’s like three feet.
KA – Being in the same house means we can share a pot of coffee as opposed to writers who aren’t married who probably have to make twice as many pots.
MG – The horror.

The first sentence of Eve and Adam is explosive and totally hooks you.  Are the opening scenes of a book the hardest thing to write?

MG – We are very different on this.  I barely think about it because I know I’ll go back later and write something different.
KA – I need to have the opening right, even if it takes days.  Or weeks.
MG – Months.  Years.

Eve and Adam is so shocking because the story could be happening somewhere in the world right now. Was it a story that you did lots of research for before you started writing or is it purely from your imaginations?

MG – We both went out and got PhD’s.
KA – It really took a lot of commitment from Michael since he’s a high school drop-out.
MG – We attended the University of Google.
KA – College of Wikipedia.

If you could create the perfect version of yourself what would you change?

MG –  There was a time when I’d have said hair.  But that’s no longer an issue.  Honestly?  I’d be one of those people who can eat without gaining weight.
KA –  I have weak ankles.
MG – That is pathetic.  That’s all you’d change?  Weak ankles?
KA – There’s plenty of things about you I’d change.  I could make a list.
MG – I wouldn’t change anything about you.  Hah!  There, I trumped you and now people will think I’m the nice one.

Eve and Adam reads like it could be a standalone book or part of a new series.  Do you plan to write more about these characters?

KA –  There’s rumour of a sequel.

Enter my competition to win a copy of Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate.

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Win Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Take some ordinary teenagers, throw in a billion-dollar biopharmaceuticals company, genetic engineering, morally corrupt scientists and some sexual tension, and you have Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate’s fantastic new book, Eve and Adam.

To celebrate the release of Eve and Adam I’m giving away 2 hardback copies.

Thanks to everyone who entered. This competition is now closed. 

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Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate have introduced us to characters that we both love and love to hate.  They’ve coauthored over 100 books together, including one of the coolest series of my childhood, Animorphs.  Michael is the author of the fantastic Gone series and BZRK, and Katherine stole our hearts earlier this year when she introduced us to the loveable, One and Only Ivan.  They’ve joined forces once again to bring us creation story like no other, Eve and Adam.

Evening Spiker is recuperating from a freak accident in her mum’s medical facility. She is healing at a remarkable rate, faster than physically possible. As she grows closer to the hot lab assistant Solo, who seems to be hanging around a lot, she realises that things at Spiker Biotech are not quite as they seem. Joining forces, Solo and Eve uncover a secret so huge it could change the world completely. Spiker Biotech is about more than just saving lives. It’s about creating them.

Eve and Adam is an exciting, futuristic thriller, and one hell of a cool book!  Take some ordinary teenagers, throw in a billion-dollar biopharmaceuticals company, genetic engineering, morally corrupt scientists and some sexual tension, and you have Eve and Adam.  Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate sure know how to write and they suck you in from the very first sentence.  This has to be one of the best first sentences ever – ‘I am thinking of an apple when the streetcar hits and my leg severs and my ribs crumble and my arm is no longer an arm but something unrecognizable, wet and red.’

The narration of the story alternates between Eve (Evening or E.V. to her friends), the daughter of Terra Spiker (head of Spiker Biopharmaceuticals) and Solo who is Terra’s ward.  After her accident, Terra gives Eve the task of designing the perfect boy, using special software that her company has developed.  After some initial skepticism Eve takes to the task and it takes her mind off her injuries, but it’s not long before she starts to wonder why her leg doesn’t hurt and there are no scars.  Solo is a mysterious character and you wonder what his motives are.  He seems to be sneaking around looking for something in particular, and puts on an act to make himself seem dumber than he actually is.  When he finds what he has been searching for it’s shocking and neither him or Eve are quite prepared for the trouble that follows.  Into this mix comes Adam, Eve’s perfect boy.  I love the way that Eve describes him when she first sees him in person,

“He’s the most beautiful male I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  Anywhere.  George Clooney and Johnny Depp and Justin Timberlake and all of them, all of them, would be cast as Adam’s less attractive best friend.”

The story is so gripping that I read it in one day.  The end left me wondering whether Eve and Adam is the start of a new series or whether it is a stand alone novel.  I felt like there were a few unanswered questions so this may not be the last we see of Eve, Adam, Aislin and Solo.

5 out of 5 stars

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My Most Anticipated October New Releases

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Evening Spiker is recuperating from a freak accident in her mum’s medical facility. She is healing at a remarkable rate, faster than physically possible. As she grows closer to the hot lab assistant Solo, who seems to be hanging around a lot, she realises that things at Spiker Biotech are not quite as they seem. Joining forces, Solo and Eve uncover a secret so huge it could change the world completely. Spiker Biotech is about more than just saving lives. It’s about creating them.

All the Wrong Questions: Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

Author Lemony Snicket is a broken man, wracked with misery and despair as a result of writing A Series Of Unfortunate Events. He spends his days wandering the countryside weeping and moaning, and his evenings eating hastily-prepared meals. But what was he like when he was thirteen years old? Find out in the brand new series from best-selling author Lemony Snicket!

Zom-B by Darren Shan

When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B Smith’s racist father thinks it’s a joke– but even if it isn’t, he figures, it’s ok to lose a few Irish. B doesn’t fully buy into Dad’s racism, but figures it’s easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. But when zombies attack B’s school, B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors, making allegiances with anyone with enough guts to fight off their pursuers.

Maddy West and the Tongue Taker by Brian Falkner

Maddy West can speak every language in the world. When she is asked to translate some ancient scrolls, Maddy is excited. But the scrolls hide many secrets. Secrets that send Maddy on a wild adventure with a stowaway ninja, a mysterious monkey, a Bulgarian wrestler and a fiendish witch. And soon Maddy finds herself in deadly peril. Does Maddy have what it takes to save herself and her new friends?

The Crystal Code by Richard Newsome

Gerald, Ruby and Sam are meeting up with Alisha and Gerald’s Australian school friend Ox for two weeks of snowboarding in the mountains of California. It’s a dream vacation.

But soon after they arrive—by helicopter, with Gerald’s butler Mr Fry at the controls, of course—the private chalet is attacked. Gerald and the gang escape through a secret passage, only to be pursued on snowmobiles by men with guns across frozen lakes and into the path of a cascading avalanche.

Could this be the work of Gerald’s nemesis Sir Mason Green, recently escaped from prison? Or is someone else behind the attack? Does the old dry cleaning ticket Gerald found amongst Green’s belongings hold the key? And how does an invitation to join the secretive Billionaire’s Club land Gerald in so much trouble?

Join Gerald and his friends in the USA, the Czech Republic and a tiny island in Sweden for a new thrilling adventure. After all, with all that money, there’s got to be more to the story.

Every Day by David Levithan

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
And then A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Can you love someone who is destined to change each day? YA superstar author David Levithan brings all his trademark insight to a novel that is edgy, romantic and page-turning. Every Day has a touch of the paranormal and a grounding in the real world.

The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi

Perry’s mother and father are busy people … they’re impatient, they’re tired, they get cross easily. And they think that only children, like Perry, should be kept busy. On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia rest home, but Gran never remembers them. ‘Who is that man?’ Honora Lee asks when Perry’s father leaves the room. After movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go to Santa Lucia on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with the help of Honora and the others. Soon everyone is interested in Perry’s book project.

Spook’s: Slither’s Tale

Far from the Wardstone, a new darkness is rising . . . Slither is a haizda mage who preys upon humans, drinking their blood to feed his dark urges. So when a local farmer dies, it’s only natural that Slither should want to feast on his lovely daughters. But then the farmer offers him a deal, and extracts from Slither a promise that will take him on a journey to the City of the Petrified Tree, to a fallen star-stone that holds great power, and straight into the path of Grimalkin, the Witch Assassin.

The Books of Beginning: The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

It’s been six months since Kate, Michael, and Emma confronted the Dire Magnus, but the trail to their long-missing parents remains cold. Then Michael and Emma find a man who saw them ten years ago—three days after they disappeared. He knows about a map of a distant land, a place shrouded in mystery that may lead them to their parents. Meanwhile, Kate’s connection to the Book of Time is growing stronger and stronger, until a dangerous trick gets her stuck in the past, searching for a friend to help her. Only a perilous quest and a daring risk will help the children to harness the power of the Books of Beginning. But will it be enough to save them?

Ratburger by David Walliams

Things are not looking good for Zoe. Her stepmother Sheila is so lazy she gets Zoe to pick her nose for her. The school bully Tina Trotts makes her life a misery – mainly by flobbing on her head. And now the evil Burt from Burt’s Burgers is after her pet rat! And guess what he wants to do with it? The clue is in the title.

And these picture books…

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Eve and Adam book trailer

Eve and Adam is one of my most anticipated books of the year.  It’s written by two amazing authors (and husband and wife) Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate.  They’re both amazing authors in their own right, but I’m looking forward to seeing how their imaginations come together in the same story.

Eve and Adam is due out in NZ on 1st October.

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The One and Only Ivan Giveaway

If you’ve read my review you know that I LOVE The Only and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  I want to spread the love so I’m giving away 2 hardback copies of this wonderful book.

To get in the draw, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post (along with your name and email address) telling me a fact about Silverback Gorillas.  You could either tell me your fact or you could post a link to an interesting Silverback Gorilla video on YouTube.  Competition closes Friday 10 February, 2012.

This competition is now closed.  Congratulations to Sandra and Anita. 

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Have you ever read a book that makes you want to pull the characters into your arms, rock them gently and tell them everything is going to be OK?  This is exactly what I wanted to do the whole way through Katherine Applegate’s beautiful story, The One and Only Ivan.

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla.  Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain.  He rarely misses his life in the jungle.  In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog.  But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home – and his own art – through new eyes.  When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

From the opening lines, ‘I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.  It’s not as easy as it looks,’ you are transported into Ivan’s head and see the world through his eyes.  You read everything Ivan thinks and remembers, sees, touches, tastes and smells.  Ivan comes out with some real pearls of wisdom and I found myself writing down so many quotes that I wanted to remember later.  Things like,

“In a Western, you can tell who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, and the good guys always win.  Bob says Westerns are nothing like real life.”

There is a real sadness to the story, because these once great majestic beasts are locked away in cages, but the friendships between them help them to deal with their situation and add humour to the story.  It’s these friendships and Ivan’s need to protect Ruby that bring a sense of hope.  Ivan wants Ruby to have a better life than the one that he has lead, locked up in the mall.  Katherine Applegate’s writing is absolutely beautiful and I wanted to savour every word.  The stream of consciousness writing style she has used for this book means that she has obviously chosen her words very carefully.  Her writing is incredibly descriptive and, like Ivan, she paints a vibrant picture for you.  This is my one of my favourite descriptions,

“Because she remembers everything, Stella knows many stories.  I like colourful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings.  But any story will do.”

I can’t recommend The One and Only Ivan highly enough.  It’s a story that will affect you and the characters will stay with you long after you close the covers.

 5 out of 5 stars

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The One and Only Ivan book trailer

The One and Only Ivan is the beautiful new book by Katherine Applegate.  It’s due out in New Zealand in February and I’m reading it at the moment.  I’ve fallen in love with Ivan and his friends and am trying to make the story last as I don’t want it to end.

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