Monday, November 5, 2012

[2]Dear 13-Year-Old Kelly, This is the Worst Day of Your Life

November 5th

Dear 13-Year-Old Kelly,

Oh, November 5th.

You know what sucks more than what will happen today?

This is an English holiday. It's a BIG English holiday. So not only will you always remember the darkness that comes with today, you'll always remember the day because it's a holiday! There will be tweets and facebook statuses... but I won't confuse you with things you don't understand yet.

I want you to do one thing today: breathe.

I'm going to breathe, too. Because that is the only you can keep doing.

The people who you thought were your best friends, who, you thought, loved you no matter what? They're going to stab you in the back today.

They know your fears. They know your hopes. Worse, they know who you like. And that is the worst possible thing a 13-year-old girl can know.

They are going to trick you into asking said crush out. They will tell you it *has* to be today. They will tell you he *will* say yes. They tell you everything you need to hear to ask him to be your boyfriend. It works.

You go to his locker after school and in front of most of the 8th grade class [who, you're pretty sure knows what's going on], you ask him to go out with you.

Then, one of the biggest shocks of your life, he says no.

Well, like any normal girl, you freeze. Fight or flight? It's Tuesday, you have Student Council - flight.

You say, "okay." and make your way through the crowd to the cafeteria. You don't care that you're *going* to be the first one there, you just need to get out. You don't cry, you're in shock.

Slowly, you begin to realize what happened. They tricked you. But it's okay. Because you didn't love him or anything, it was just a crush. You'll carry on.

What you don't understand, what breaks your heart, your body, your soul into a thousand pieces, is why your *best friends* did this to you. It was a joke. It was a cruel joke.

Some friends come into the cafeteria, claiming that the whole school saw me run off crying. No, you correct, you just needed to come to student council. You're not crying, except for a few tears shed, you're fine. You're perfectly fine.

You just don't understand.

And oh shit, where are you going to sit at lunch tomorrow?

All my love,
23-year-old Kelly

Saturday, October 27, 2012

[1]Dear 13-Year-Old-Kelly, You're Happy...

October 27th

Dear 13-Year-Old-Kelly,

You know what I love about you? How naive you are. You are so happy in your unknown innocence. And I love that.

You think you're becoming popular, and because of this, your confidence is growing. I am so happy for you that you think that.

You think a boy likes you. And that makes you smile. That makes you smile more than anything in the world.

You know you are smart. You do your homework right. You study. You get As, sometimes Bs. You like school.

You're undecided about what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you want to go to college. You want to learn.

I don't know what to tell you. Prepare yourself. Guard your heart. Guard your life. Guard your passion.

Don't forget who your friends are. Don't cut people off because you want to climb to the top. Don't sacrifice who you are to be someone else.

Try not to be jealous. Know when to vocalize your jealousy and when to keep your mouth shut.

Keep your eyes open.

All my love,
23-year-old Kelly

Thursday, October 25, 2012

10 Years Later...

I hate the fall.


I didn't always hate the fall. Ten years ago this fall, I fell into (actualized?) my depression. There was one event that broke my heart in a thousand different ways. I was so sad, so unhappy, so insecure that depression took over. Being unhappy became my life. I lost trust. I lost hope. I lost faith. And then I decided that I wanted to kill myself.

My suicidal thoughts were my everything. I constantly thought about how, where and when I would. I thought about my funeral. I thought about what my ex-friends would say and the regret they would feel.

The friends who took me under their wing were my saviors. I didn't know it at the time, but I do know. I am so grateful they stuck by my side during that fall and through the winter. They continued to stay by my side through high school and I stood by their sides. Things may not have always been perfect, but during the fall of 2002, they were there. They were the only four people who I trusted and who I knew loved me.

I fell in love with Harry Potter that fall.

I fell in love with RENT and became immersed in theatre that winter.

Everything that I am passionate about was discovered that fall. I was truly shaped by that fall.

This is my introduction to my new blog series, Dear 13-Year-Old Kelly. On the tenth anniversary of certain events, I will be writing letters to my younger self. I want to recount what happened and try to explain to her that while everything sucks right now, it's going to get better and that she needs these events to become the person she is ten years later.

These events have really stuck with me and frankly, I need to get over them. They happened. I need to make peace with them and move on. This is me trying to move on.

So thank you for reading. And most importantly, thank you for being my friend.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

[Not] My First Day of School

In early September of 1992, I attended school for the first time. For the next twenty years, I continued that tradition. Like the rest of you, I went from pre-school to Kindergarten to elementary school to middle school to high school to college.

Today, I did not go to school.

To be honest with you all, it didn't even phase me. I didn't cry, I didn't mope, I didn't do anything, actually. I wished my friends a happy first day of school, but it didn't dawn on me that I was missing it until an hour ago.

For the past month, I've been saying that I was going to freak out. But actually, it's a little bit of a relief. I've been in school for TWENTY YEARS. That's a long time. The next three years of my schooling is going to be harder than those twenty years combined, so I'm not freaking out. I'm pretty relaxed. I'm happy to have this year off. I need it. I need to chill and work and write and read and blog. I need this.


I like buying books and notebooks and organizing and going to class and taking notes and learning and checking out the guys and making new friends and procrastinating on twitter and tumblr and getting work done for other classes in a class and snow days and cancelled classes and fun professors. I like those things. And with most of my friends experiencing them, I feel like I'm missing out.


At least I can put my procrastination skills into applying to grad school.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Best YA Books - EVER.

What a HARD question to ask a YA book lover. Pick your 10 best-ever YA books? Come on. I need at least 25.

Well, NPR is asking just that. And you can go vote here.

Since a big majority of my friends are YA lovers, we're obviously talking about this. Bailey posted her picks on her blog and I've decided to post mine here.

While Bailey asked herself what 10-book bundle she would give to a high school student, I asked myself what 10 books have stayed with me in my ten years of reading YA.

1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson
2. Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden
3. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
4. Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin
5. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
6. Looking for Alaska, by John Green*
7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky*
8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares
9. This Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen
10. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher*

Books I Wish I Could Have Included: 
Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, by Lousise Rennison
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by David Levithan and Rachel Cohen
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hilton
The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli

Books Not On the List That I Adore: 
The Key to the Golden Firebird, by Maureen Johnson
Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld
Be More Chill, by Ned Vizzini
What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
TTYL, by Lauren Myracle
Sean Griswold's Head, by Lindsey Leavitt

You'll probably notice that I left off Harry Potter. Not because I don't love it or because I don't think it's very important to read while you are a teenager, but because I don't see it as a YA book. There are actually many books that I don't see as a YA book that are on the list. I see these books as children's books or adult books. 
Books That Should NOT Be on the NPR list: 
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picolt
The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien
The Hobbitt, by J.R.R. Tolkien 

Okay. That's enough lists for now. What did you all pick? 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Raindrops in My Ketchup: A #twinantics Story




If you follow me on twitter, you know I have a twin. Laura. You can find her here.

SO. She is with me this week for BEA. Except we did not BEA today. We were TOURISTS today.

My ORIGINAL plan was to take her to Central Park first thing in the AM while it was only slightly warm and not super warm. Then it rained. and it didn't just rain; it RAINED.

So that went out the window.

Instead, we went to the NYPL and looked around and I had Find the Future flashbacks and all was well. Then, since we were so close to Times Square, we went there. By now the rain wasn't so bad, but it was still raining. This was awesome because it was not full of tourists. Then we walked down to Madison Square Park and SHAKE SHACK.

Some backstory: when I asked my twin what she wanted to do in NYC, she didn't say the Statue of Liberty or Central Park or any NORMAL tourist attractions. She asked to see The Strand and eat at Shake Shack. This is why I love my twin.

So we go to Shake Shack, where there is normally a HUGE line. Today, due to rain, there is NO line. We order or shakes and our food and go to sit on a WET bench in the park. Then Laura says to put down the bags our umbrellas were in to keep our butts dry. How smart is my twin? So we're eating and Laura is scaring the feral squirrels with her quirky umbrella when the rain starts to really get going. Then a raindrop DROPED INTO MY KETCHUP. Needless to say, NYC rain is not always CLEAN so I was not PLEASED. This is when I opened my umbrella and held it over us as we ate in the rain. I do wish there was I picture of this. It was adorable.

After that, I took Laura down into the Subway for the first time and we saw The Strand and I got HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE - FIRST EDITION and she went into the rare book room and smelled the amazing rare books and then took a picture of me loving my new Harry book.

I will never get tired of buying and owning Harry Potter books. EVER.

Thankfully, the rain finally stopped and we got coffee at starbucks and took the subway crazy places getting slightly misplaced around the east side until we ate Maureen Johnson's favourite cupcakes.

On our way downtown to go back to Jersey, we were STOPPED. Why? Oh, 'cause Obama is in town and his motorcade was passing through. Twin has officially experienced my rockstar life. These things just HAPPEN to me. and now she knows. I don't plan them.

But now my computer is freaking out that I have worked it for an hour and I am going to go to bed and not sleep because it is nearly my birthday and BEA.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lucky 7... and #ohheycharlie

I got tagged. Twice.

By the amazing Kenzie Audacious and the lovely Sarrah Kaliski.

1. Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences - as they are.
4. Tag 7 other people to do the same.

NOW. I only have 6 pages. So we're going to take the 7th paragraph on the 3rd page from...



#OhHeyCharlie is about a boy [Charlie] who meets a girl. She's awesome. Then his best friend [the girl he's loved for six years] tells him that she loves him. Dilemma? I think yes.

   “Do you know Derek?” She asked, turning to my stunned roommate.

   “I do. I told you someone would know who I was.” Amy-Pond-look-a-like contorted her face in question.
    “I adore Doctor Who. She placed a hand to her heart, Main reason I’m Amy Pond is because I love it and the Doctor and I knew only awesome people would know who I am. Derek said he recognized me from somewhere.”
    “Let’s Kill Hitler.” I automatically responded. It was one of my favorite episodes from the fifth season and this brilliant beauty had done a great job.  She was even wearing an A necklace. She blinked a few times quickly.
      I shrugged. “I try.” 
      Derek fidgeted. I could tell he was getting annoyed. I can’t break guy code, even if I want to. Without saying goodbye, I walked away. Leave them always wanting more. And if this girl was anything like the real Amy, she’d find me soon enough.


UNFORTUNATELY, this bit will never be in the final version. Mostly because I am taking the whole Doctor Who thing out. So you know. You guys get to read it, still.

I AM TAGGING Laura, my twin, Brianna, my childhood friend and the amazing Lynn Weingarten, because I want more SSH.


Keep smiling.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BEDA11: Moment of Weakness

If you're reading this, you got the link from my twitter, most likely.

And if you know me, or have known me since last November, you know the DRAMA that went on in my life for so long. There's ups, downs and all sorts of crazy moments in that story*.

When it all came to the climax**, I had a ROUGH week. It was.... not fun. One of the worst weeks in the past ten years.

But then, I got up. If you stare at "NO DAY BUT TODAY" long enough***, it becomes seared in your brain.

At first, it made me cry. I didn't want a today.

Then it made me cry because I was letting Jonathan down. He would not approve of my state.

Then I watched a Vlogbrothers video. And I remembered something I should, never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever**** forget:


I am not just awesome, but MADE of awesome. My blood is super-duper*****, this is how I know.

Then the clarity came. I was in such a SUCKY mood because my life was surrounded by people who SUCK. So delete the suck. It was almost TOO easy. I delete my facebook. When I wanted to stalk, I remembered the suck and did something awesome instead.

Slowly, life got better. I met a boy. I was smiling. I was watching Doctor Who.

Last night, I was weak. After two months, I did something I am not proud of.

But it's okay.

Then my Darren came on the screen and all was better because I love him and he loves me and I am going to have a KICK ASS spring and summer and fall will be glorious and there will be lots of writing and reading and friends and for the first time in a long time because I know what the future holds even the present is not what I want it to be:

I love my life.

**which is ironically, the end of the story
***this has been painted onto the wall by my bed, for all the reasons that comes after that line.
****I would say "ever" forever if I could. Because.
*****I have a rare blood type and last time I gave, it went to a little baby girl because of my pallets or some shit.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BEDA10: Why I Tweet

In the past few months, being an avid tweeter has been a bit of a... problem.

I've been tweeting for almost four years. FOUR YEARS. You can't kick a habit you've had for four years.

BESIDES the fact that I have made a handful of my BEST FRIENDS on twitter*.

I'm hardly going to abandon my friends. That would be like the most horrible thing in the world.

I don't tweet because I love to share my life with the world - I tweet because I'm sharing my life with my friends who live from Australia to California to Texas and Indiana and New York and over to London and Ireland. So yes, maybe I am sharing my life with the world, but that's only because my friends are scattered across the world.

I'm really sorry - my views on this topic is so scattered and I'm so scattered that I can't really write right now.

*and youtube and tumblr and ning and so many other social media sites.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

BEDA8: Happy Cadbury Eggs Day!

I'm not a huge fan of Easter.

No, really. I don't know WHY. I just never have been.

Today wasn't even all that... great. Just average.

I ate WAY more candy than I should have, did not do my homework, and watched TV all day. So basically a normal Sunday. Sans nap.

That is all.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

BEDA7: Take the Leap

Tonight, I saw LEAP OF FAITH on Broadway.

Even though I am kinda BROKE and shouldn't have gone to see this, I am SO FREAKING HAPPY I did. I will list these reasons now.

1. I saw it in previews, a first. I also fell in love, so now I have ITS ENTIRE RUN to go back and see it. I really would love to get back before June, but even after that, I'll have the summer. Even if Raul is out one night, I get Louis. I will be seeing this again.

2. On that topic: RAUL ESPARZA. Besides the fact that I never pronounce his last name correctly, I adore this man to high heavens. I am celebrating 9 years of being a Broadway Baby and I have been listening to his voice for most of that 9 years. This man was in RHPS, Company, Tick, Tick...BOOM!, and so much more. His voice is heavenly. It's strong and stable and there's no doubt that he'll be nominated for a Tony. Since he's playing a preacher, it's only fitting how much he makes you BELIEVE. He's got a star's stage presence without (really) being a star. He commands everyone's attention from the first note to the last and wows all the fangirls and boys afterwards.

Oh, and when I brought up TTB, he told me how much the show changed his life. The greatest gift an actor can give a Broadway Baby is an actual conversation. Thank you, Raul, for that experience.

3. The rest of the cast. To list all the amazing cast members would be annoying. Especially since most of you will not know who they are. But let me tell you, these cast members KICK ASS. They are so fully of energy and life and love what they're doing in the St. James every night. A true telling of how amazing the cast is is what happens AFTER the show. Do they come out? Do they talk to you? Do they take pictures? Yes, yes, yes and SO much more. This cast LOVED greeting us and signing our playbills. This could be a perk of previews, but I doubt that. We loved them and they gave us love right back. My whole playbill is FULL. About as full as it's been since HAIR. Which is a helluva lot.

4. The story. While the story wasn't as great as some of the shows I've seen in the past year, Broadway isn't about getting deep [at least, not Irving Berlin's]. The story was simple, easy to follow, and had great music. That makes a great Broadway show. Romance, AMAZING choreography, and a star I could not stop staring at. That is enough reason for me to go.

5. Again, speaking of choreography, if this show doesn't get nominated, if not WIN that Tony, I will hurt someone. The steps were not only intricate, but INTENSE. These dancers, including Raul, put 140% into this show. I threw a fit when Legally Blonde didn't win Best Choreography, and I will throw another one if LoF doesn't win. Besides having Nice Work as competition, this show should get it.*

As of right now, that's all the reasons I can think of about why this show is amazing and deserves nominations and Tonys. I know this show will last throughout the summer, if not the year. Once people hear about this, well, they'll take the leap, too.

*And Godspell and JCS, too.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

BEDA5: Driving Lessons

In an attempt to lower my high car insurance bill, I am taking an online defensive driving course. 

Which basically means I get to sit for hours and re-learn everything I already know, because I am a good driver. 

It's really boring. 

But I'm almost done. 

I'll update you on how much lower my insurance goes once I'm done. 

That is all. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

BEDA4: Finding a Job is Scary

This Saturday marks the 5 week mark until Graduation. 

Needless to say, I'm scared. 

In some of my spare time, I have been looking at jobs. THIS is scary. I've been searching in some of the social media openings, but IMMEDIATELY get intimidated. I don't think I'm ready to be in a management position. 

As I think about the last five years, the years that were supposed to shape me for a real job, I realize that I know NOTHING. 

No, seriously. I don't know anything about the real world. What is a real job and how do I do it? 

I know how to be a student. I was pretty good at that. I don't know how to do anything else. 

So basically all this "looking for a job" thing is SCARY. 

The worst part is, I'm ready. I'm so over school and studying and HOMEWORK. I'm ready for a 9-5. 

I just don't know how to do a 9-5. 

And I immediately hate my entire college education. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 23, 2012: Made of Awesome

Everyone has good days and bad days, right? Right.

John and Hank and the other leaders of nerdfighteria have taught us that it is possible (and that we should) find the awesome in each and every day. Because every day that we are alive is awesome. Yet, some days are less awesome than other days. And some days are just truly made of awesome.

Last Thursday was truly made of awesome.

Now, I was expecting it to be a good day because I had a lunch date with a cute boy. But as each minute passed, it became more and more awesome.

I woke up at 8ish, planning to go to yoga at 9. Normally, I just SAY I'm going to do this and don't. Then, as I entered consciousness, I wanted to get up and go to yoga. I loved yoga. and I was paying $100 this month to go. I was going.

It is a miracle to get me up before 9. Not only was I up, my bed was made and I was dressed. I was off to yoga by 9:05 and had a great class! I held both tree pose sets and started to transition into the next step in the tree pose [which is folding over and sitting in it one-legged. I began to fold over]. Good class! Yay!

Now I knew I would only have an hour and a half to shower, change, blow dry my hair and do other random things (like put my dirty laundry in the basement). Somehow, I did all this and was still TEN MINUTES early. This never happens. Well, in those ten minutes I was waiting for Cute Boy to show up, I checked my phone.

I had a text from my long-term best friend who shares my book loving obsession among other obsessions. Well, she found out that JOHN GREEN was going to not only BE at BEA, but be speaking at the CHILDREN'S BREAKFAST WITH LOIS LOWRY.

Let the Happy Dancing begin!

I then hit my twitter app to tweet this. How could I not? I tweeted it and began to read some of the most recent tweets, once of which was Alex Carpenter saying he was going to be writing a song about JKR's new book.



Now I'm freaking out. I confirm that yes, JKR is writing a new book, but it will be entirely different from the Harry Potter series. WHO THE HELL CARES. I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS SINCE 2007!

Hyperventalation begins.

On that note, Cute Boy pulls up to my house. Perfect. He's going to think I'm a freak.

Well, I calm down enough to go see him and we go out to lunch. Which was yummy. I am excluding all other details. Except that I smiled a lot for the rest of the day due to the event of lunch.

After lunch, we hung out a bit, but then Cute Boy went home to do work. Sadd. But still. I now had enough time to chill before work. So I watched Downton Abbey because John Green said so.

Oh, my life.

Then work was quiet, I was with a few favourite coworkers, I got to be in fitting room, which I love and got let out early. GOOD NIGHT.

Oh, and I got tacos for dinner. 'Nuff said.

Then I came home and watched more Downton Abbey and texted with Cute Boy and am now thoroughly obsessed with Downton Abbey.  I've been watching it all weekend. Amazingness. But who doubts John Green?

There are very few days that just leave me in a bundle of joy. It felt SO GOOD to just have a made-of-awesome day when I haven't had a made-of-awesome day since early December. And even before that, I can't remember when a day was so awesome from morning to sleep.

Today is made of awesome because I put french vanilla creamer in my earl grey tea and it was YUMMY.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Today Should Have Been Our Anniversary: A Lesson on Heartache and Friendship

Best friends.

They come and go. If you're lucky, it will happen naturally. People grow and change and their friends change, too.

Sometimes, drama happens and you will get into a major fight and will lose your best friend.

I wish this on no one. Not only has this happened to me once, but multiple times in my life. NORMALLY, I would outline and detail them, but for now, I will just outline the year they occurred. 'Cause I'm classy like that.

1. November 2002. Eighth grade. Thought my friends were... my friends. They weren't.
2. Summer 2006. Summer before Senior year. People change.
3. December 2008. Sophomore year of undergrad. My friend thought she was my friend. She wasn't.
4. Summer 2010. Summer after Junior year of undergrad/England. I changed.
5. September 2011. Super Senior year of undergrad. They lied.
6. February 2012. Super Senior year of undergrad. I wish I knew - I don't even think he knows.

There is something about losing a best friend that... rips your heart apart. You're used to seeing them everyday, talking to them everyday, being supported by them and supporting them. When this person who is in your life at such a constant presence and then you lose them... it's heartbreaking. More heartbreaking than anything I have ever felt during an actual heartbreak.

I have love and lost. Twice.

Make that three.

Loving someone and then experiencing heartache is horrible. But it happens. And it makes you stronger. The first two instances molded me into who I am. They inspired great stories. They were both brilliant boys. The first was more brilliant than the second, actually. The second was kind of a jerk.

Never before have I loved my best friend. That was a new experienced for me. Or... love? The feeling is present tense [because you just can't stop loving someone overnight], but the friendship is not.

This loss is almost like death. It's hitting me that hard. And if you are ever to experience it, it will hit you hard, too.

I truly, truly believe that love is the greatest and most powerful emotion in the world.

And love, well, I got it.

Girls, [and guys], when heartache happens, no matter what form, remember who you are. Remember how you feel about that person and let it strengthen you, not hinder you. Don't have heart break, as much as it will feel like it. Keep your heart whole and your mind sane.

If your heart breaks, they win.

Don't let them win.

And don't forget to smile. =D

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Top 10 Books of 2011 [or Something Like That]

I have never done a Top Books list before.

ALAS ALAK: I am now. I actually read some books that came out this year, so I can contribute. Unfortunately, most of the books I read did NOT come out this year.

Still, I loved these books and I want to highlight them. My blog, my rules.

In no particular order:

1. Ten Things I Did [and Probably Shouldn't Have] by Sarah Mlynowski
I kinda loved this book. It was such an easy read and not a sappy love story, though there is a love story in it. I was still in my "Kelly Doesn't Want or Need a Man" phase of 2011 when I read it and it was perfect. I loved the little love story without being overwhelmed by it. You can read my review HERE. =D

2. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Word cannot describe my love for this book. I read it in three days. I could not put it down. It was wonderful and you all NEED to read it. Such an easy read. Jay Asher has a way with words and I will forever read his books. I've never really been a fan of Carolyn Mackler, though. In fact, as you'll see once my review is posted, I became annoyed with Emma quite frequently. Josh is too amazing to not love, though.

3. The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten
I feel like my whole of 2011 was waiting on this book and I'm happy to have read and review it before the year was over. Lynn is an amazing writer and I loved how this book healed my broken heart and taught me a thing or two about love.

4. Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
I can't believe I almost forgot about this book. Technically I read it in 2010, but it was a 2011 release. And it was SO GOOD. I felt 16 again reading this book. No review on this one, but it does not doubt my love. Reading SGH was like reading my first Sarah Dessen book. It has such a young heart with great writing. After not reading much YA lit while I was abroad, it was one of the first ones I read when I came back and it made me fall in love with YA all over again.

5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
This book is on a lot of people's top 10. And it's written by Maureen Johnson. No explination needed.

Unfortunately, I think these five were the only "Out in 2011" books that I read! But I have five more of books out in 2011 that I WISH I had read.

6. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Reading this as soon as possible. I loved 13 Little Blue Envelopes more than you can even imagine. Travel plus love plus London plus Maureen Johnson plus crazy aunt writing letters from beyond the grave?! I've wanted to know what that last envelope has said for AGES.

7. The Unwanted by Lisa McMann
Harry Potter plus Hunger Games? Oh, yeah. I've been on this ride since BEA.

8. [The] Carrier of the Mark by Leah Fallon
Ginger girl in Ireland who has magic powers. Enough said. This book was a BEA hit! I can't believe it took me this long to get my hands on it.

9. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
This woman is cranking out books faster than I can read them. Meeting her at BEA was a pleasure. So sweet and so nice. Reading her books inspired many of my first manuscript ideas. When I finally publish a book, her name will be in the acknowledgements. She's inspired me so much over the past ten years and I know she'll continue to inspire me for the next ten [and more].

AND FINALLY: The book I FINALLY read in 2011 that was not published in 2011:

10. THE HUNGER GAMES! [and Catching Fire and Mockingjay]
Reading this book took a lot of TIME. After the huge dissapointment that was Twilight, I didn't want to be let down again. Boy was I WRONG. And actually, I didn't like The Hunger Games. Just like The Giver, I was repulsed by the idea of making these kids fight for their lives while The Capitol lapped it up. I fell in love with this series while reading Catching Fire. Katniss is a great female character and I am just like her: a true rebel. Hence me putting off reading this book for as long as I did.

This year I hope to read more 2012 books IN 2012, especially since I am signed up to a reading challenge! I am getting my Nook SOON, which means cheaper books for Kelly. I wish I could say I want to read 100 books this year, but that will not happen. I can't even say I'll read 50, but I am going to try to read 25, and then push for 50. I also want to go back and read books that I haven't read in a REALLY long time. Unfortunately, my TBR bookshelf needs to be cleaned off before BEA 2012, so here's to another year of reading new books, not rereading old lovers.

Countdown to BEA 2012: 154 days!